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The Odd Truth, June 18, 2003

The Odd Truth is a collection of strange but factual news stories from around the world compiled by's Brian Bernbaum. A new collection of stories is published each weekday. On weekends, you can read a week's worth of The Odd Truth.

Virgin Mary In The Window

MILTON, Massachusetts - Thousands of people are flocking to a Massachusetts hospital to see Mary — the Virgin Mary. True believers say they can see the image of a robed Madonna, in the murky patches on a third-floor window at Milton Hospital. But the cynics say it's just condensation in a window with a broken weather seal. In the last week or so more than 25,000 people have visited the hospital to see the apparition. Dozens of bouquets have been placed beneath the window, along with a large Tupperware container for donations. A spokesman for the Boston archdiocese says church officials haven't yet ruled on the validity of the image.

Car Sex Brings Death, Prison

MONMOUTH, Illinois - An Illinois man has been sentenced to ten years in prison for a crash that killed his girlfriend while they were having sex behind the wheel.

Sonny Morris El was convicted of aggravated driving while under the influence of drugs in the January 2002 crash that killed 25-year-old Kristina Valerio. He was acquitted of reckless homicide.

Tests showed the 32-year-old Morris El had marijuana in his system when his car crossed the center line and collided with a tractor trailer.

The state's attorney had asked for the maximum 12-year prison term, arguing that Morris El was living a life of "total irresponsibility" before the collision.

His public defender had asked for probation, saying his client didn't intend to harm his girlfriend.

Mom Provided Getaway For Bank-Robbing Daughters

TOMS RIVER, New Jersey - It was a little different from driving her kids to the mall.

A New Jersey woman has admitted driving her twin teen-aged daughters to a bank so the girls could rob it last year.

Prosecutors say the family staged the robbery so they could make a mortgage payment. The girls allegedly made off with about $3,000.

Kathleen Jones has pleaded guilty to armed robbery and using a juvenile to commit a crime. She admits knowing the then 14-year-old girls had a toy gun. Jones faces up to 30 years in prison.

The twins are in a youth detention center on armed robbery, theft and weapons charges. Their father has until today to accept a plea deal on charges he tried to cover up the robbery and urged the girls to lie about it.

Old Bomb Found In Used Car Vent

PAPILLION, Nebraska - A Nebraska woman found an unexpected option in a used car she bought — a bomb. The woman was trying to get the air conditioning fixed when a homemade explosive device fell out of a vent. Authorities say the bomb was about a half-foot long and looked like it had been in the car for quite awhile. Investigators are now trying to track down the car's previous owners, but finding the bomb-maker could be more of a challenge. The car was purchased from a dealership and was once used as a rental.

1 In 5 Lie For Three Day Weekends

NEW YORK - Are you coming down with the Friday flu? How about a Monday mental health day? A new poll shows one in five people admit to calling in sick to have a three-day weekend. It seems the younger you are the "sicker" you get. According the survey by Orbitz, the airline-owned travel company, young adults 18-to-34 are more likely than older colleagues to take a sick day when they really don't need it. About 32 percent in that group admit to it. But at other times, work can be the excuse for avoiding a trip. Twelve percent said they have fibbed about working to avoid visiting friends or family.

Judge Quits After Traffic Court Terrorist Remark

TARRYTOWN, New York - In Tarrytown, New York, a judge who admitted asking an Arab-American woman in court if she was a terrorist has stepped down.

Village Justice William Crosbie resigned in a letter Monday to the mayor. The incident led the woman to file a complaint.

Anissa Khoder, a Lebanese who has lived in the United States 14 years, had gone to court to challenge one of two parking tickets she'd gotten.

Khoder said Crosbie asked if she was a terrorist, then said "something like, 'You have money to support the terrorists, but you don't want to pay the ticket."'

Khoder then fainted; both tickets were dismissed.

Crosbie says he was "probably kidding" when he made the terrorist remark. He denies accusing Khoder of financially supporting terrorism.

Death By High Heel Ruled Self-Defense

NEW YORK - A Brooklyn grand jury has chosen not to indict a woman who was charged with killing her boyfriend by sitting on him and hitting him with her high-heeled shoe.

Forty-year-old Anna Rhinehart was arrested and charged with the death of 51-year-old Roosevelt Bonds on June 7th. But the Brooklyn District Attorney's office says charges against her would probably be dropped.

Her attorney Darren Fields says the grand jury believed that she acted in self-defense in a fight with Bonds outside a Brooklyn nightclub.

Fields says Rhinehart was happy with the outcome, but still sad about the death of Bonds, with whom she has a six-year-old child.

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