The Odd Truth: July 15, 2005

SUV hero
The Odd Truth is a collection of strange but factual news stories from around the world compiled by's Meredith Stoffel.

Woman Drunk During Birth

BARTLESVILLE, Okla. - A woman who police say had been drinking heavily before she gave birth was charged with child neglect after the baby was born intoxicated and diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome.

Melissa Irene Tanner, 37, had a blood alcohol content of 0.29 percent when she gave birth, and her daughter's was 0.21 percent, according to an affidavit by police. The legal limit for drivers in Oklahoma is 0.08 percent.

Hospital staff had to use an oxygen bag to help the baby start breathing and gave her medication to counteract any narcotics, according to the affidavit.

Tanner allegedly told police she and another person had consumed a case of beer and that she regularly drank during her pregnancy.

She was jailed on $30,000 bail. At a court appearance this week, Tanner was advised of her rights and ordered to return to court Aug. 5. She has not yet filed an application for an attorney or entered a plea, the court clerk's office said.

Sheriff's investigator James Wynn said the baby has fetal alcohol syndrome. The baby was placed in a foster home with a caretaker experienced in dealing with addicted infants.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists the syndrome as the leading preventable cause of mental retardation and physical deformity. The severity of her disability won't be known until she is older.

Honest Potter Fan

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - Talk about honest.

A Santa Cruz man says he mistakenly received a copy of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" four days before its official release.

And what did Thorin Brentmar do with the year's most anticipated book? Sell it on eBay? Lend it to friends? Read it one sitting? None of the above.

Brentmar called the publisher and sent it back.

"He called us," said Scholastic Press spokeswoman Kris Moran. "We said, `Thank you very much.' We asked him to send the book back."

Brentmar said he's read all J.K. Rowling's Potter books and likes them. But he didn't pre-order "Half-Blood Prince," has no friends at bookstores who might have slipped him a copy and didn't know where it came from. He said it showed up hanging on his doorknob in a white plastic bag.

Scholastic, the book's American publisher, has printed 10.8 million copies. They remain sealed in cartons in bookstores, and won't go on sale until 12:01 a.m. Saturday.

Moran said Scholastic would reimburse whatever it cost Brentmar to return the book and send him a free copy and "other fun Harry Potter stuff" after the embargo ends.

Man Bites Off Cop's Finger

VIENNA, Ga. - A man has been charged with a felony for allegedly biting off a portion of a Vienna police officer's finger during a scuffle.

Frankie Almond Jr., was arrested and charged with aggravated battery upon a police officer after he bit off part of the middle finger of Vienna Police Officer Joseph Peavy in a scuffle, police said.

The altercation happened after Peavy and Officer George Royal were dispatched to a disturbance. The officers tried to subdue the partially clothed Almond when police say he became violent.

Almond bit his father on the leg and attempted to bite Royal on the leg when Peavy grabbed him, according to a police report.

Almond then bit the right middle finger of Peavy, severing it at the first joint and doctors could not reattach the severed portion of the finger, Police Chief David Musselwhite said in the report.

Man Trespasses To Drink Holy Water

ATHENS, Ga. - A man drinking holy water at St. Joseph's Catholic Church was removed from the church by police on Wednesday. The man, Stacy Lamar Bradford, has a history of trespassing at the church, said Tom Rocks, the church's office manager.

On Oct. 15, Bradford was arrested at St. Joe's after he assaulted the church's pastor, broke a processional crucifix and broke the window of a police cruiser, Rocks said.

He was barred from the church for five years, but he continues to come in the church about every two weeks to drink holy water, which is kept for use in baptisms and other sacraments.

"I've called 911 every two weeks for the last six months," said Rocks. "The big question is that we know he has a problem and we don't want to cause any more problems for him, but since he has attacked people before, we're concerned for people's safety."

Although Rocks has called police several times to have Bradford removed from the premises, the church has not pursued a warrant for his arrest.

Man Robbed Twice Within 5 Minutes

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - A tourist from Connecticut reported he was mugged twice within five minutes while walking Alii Drive, Big Island police said.

Derrick Schull, 50, was walking south on the oceanside-street at 3:25 a.m. Wednesday when a dark-colored sport utility vehicle pulled alongside him. Three men in their 30s got out, forced Schull to give up his wallet and drove away, police said.

Five minutes later, Schull reported that four males, including two juveniles, emerged from some bushes and demanded his wallet. When he told them he had no wallet, two of them started punching and kicking him, police said.

Schull suffered minor injuries and refused medical attention.

Gay Senior Housing

LOS ANGELES - Graying gays will soon have their own retirement home in Hollywood. The $20 million Encore House is being built by the nonprofit Gay and Lesbian Elder Housing. The retirement home will have more than 100 apartments and even a swimming pool. It's expected to open next year. Brian Neimark, one of the organizers, says they want to create an environment of tolerance and acceptance. Neimark says the Encore House house won't turn away straight seniors. But he says non-gay residents should expect to see same-sex couples dancing at the home.