The Odd Truth, May 21, 2004

The Odd Truth is a collection of strange but factual news stories from around the world compiled by's Brian Bernbaum.

Bitter Sweet Pie Throwing

LAKESIDE, Ohio - An Ohio high school honor student - who won a drawing allowing him to throw a pie in his principal's face - has now been expelled until winter, after allegedly throwing it too hard.

And he might even face criminal charges. The principal's assault complaint has been referred to prosecutors.

Authorities say he threw the pie with such force, it caused Danbury High School Principal Karen Abbott's head to snap back.

The 15-year-old student's parents are appealing the 80-day expulsion that will keep their son out of school until next winter. They point out that their son's grade point average tops 3.4 - and they say his education is at stake.

The pie-throwing event was part of a fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society.

Naked Car Thief On The Loose

CHARLESTON, West Virginia - The suspect was last seen wearing - well, nothing. After allegedly stealing a car belonging to his girlfriend's mother and then crashing it, a Charleston, W. Va., man was reportedly seen running naked down the road. Sheriff's deputies are looking to arrest 22-year-old Richard Maddox on a grand larceny charge. Police say Maddox took off with the car on May 11, after his girlfriend asked him to go out and grab her clothes from the vehicle.

A little while later a deputy found the car wrecked near Sissonville and spotted Maddox without his clothes on. It's not clear why Maddox was naked.

French Fries And Bible Study: A Recipe For Disaster

EUGENE, Ore. - A woman is accused of pouring boiling oil on her boyfriend's face in an argument over a Bible verse.

Angela S. Morris, 19, was charged with domestic violence assault and jailed on $250,000 bail. Her 31-year-old boyfriend, whose name was not released, was hospitalized with severe burns on his face, neck and chest.

The two were reading the Bible at the boyfriend's apartment May 13 when Morris went to the kitchen to prepare french fries, police said.

Morris told police that they continued to argue and that her boyfriend grabbed her from behind. Police said he then went to his bedroom to lie down. Morris followed and threw the oil on him, police said.

Erratic Lawnmower Man Slapped With DUI

FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Ill. - When authorities warned Paul Schwarztrauber Jr. not to drink and drive, it may not have been entirely clear to him that the prohibition also applied to lawnmowers.

The 46-year-old was pulled over this week and charged with riding his lawnmower on a public street while intoxicated and with a revoked license.

Police said Schwarztrauber, who had two previous DUI convictions, had his 1-year-old daughter on his lap. He refused to stop and shouted obscenities when a patrol car arrived responding to complaint about a man driving a lawnmower erratically in the street, authorities said.

"He kept driving for a few moments. One of the officers then walked up to the mower (and) turned off the ignition," said Lt. David Fellows.

It is illegal to drive any motor vehicle while intoxicated and to drive one on a public road without a license, Fellows said.

Police in Fairview Heights, 10 miles southeast of St. Louis, gave Schwarztrauber a sobriety test and arrested him Monday. He remained jailed in St. Clair County on $50,000 bail Thursday. It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney.

Schwarztrauber was convicted of DUI in 1983 and 1990. In the 1983 case, he also was convicted of fleeing Illinois State Police, speeding, battery and illegally transporting alcohol.

Barking Lawyer Fined For Misconduct

NEW YORK - David Fink might think he got a ruff sentence.

The lawyer who barked like a dog at a witness during a deposition has been fined $8,500 for misconduct and harassment of opponents, according to a judge's 54-page decision published Thursday.

Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Charles Ramos said Fink made false statements, failed to comply with court orders and engaged in frivolous conduct during a breach of contract suit over home furnishing designs.

Fink's client Carl Levine represents designers of home furnishings to manufacturers and other licensees. He sued a married couple, Laurette Angsten and Kit Kittle, alleging they did not pay him money they owed for marketing their products.

During a deposition in which Kittle was giving sworn statements on Jan. 16, 2002, he described letters he received from Fink as threatening, "mad dog lawyer" letters, said Kittle's lawyer, Samuel Friedman.

At the continuation of the deposition the next day, Friedman said, Fink started barking like a dog when Kittle was asked about the letters by Donald Creadore, the lawyer who had taken over Levine's case from Fink.

Friedman complained to Ramos about Fink's behavior.

A special referee reviewed Fink's behavior, and Ramos followed the recommendations.

Fink had already been assessed $1,400 for previous misconduct in the case.

Man Arrested In Canine Throat-Slashings

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - A man was arrested on charges that he slashed the throats of five dogs in what his son said was an attempt to win sympathy from his estranged wife.

Gary John Martin, 50, denied wrongdoing after being arrested on animal cruelty charges Wednesday. "This is devastating. These dogs are my kids," he said.

The bloody dogs - four cocker spaniels and a miniature Doberman pinscher - were discovered in Martin's home last Friday by a neighbor. The animals are expected to recover.

As sheriff's deputies showed up, Martin arrived home from work and collapsed in the front yard, crying, "My babies, my babies, my babies," neighbor Joe Keough said.

Martin told neighbors that someone broke into his house, injured the dogs and wrote threats on a mirror in lipstick. Sympathetic acquaintances mowed his lawn and brought him pasta and sausage for dinner.

Martin's son said he may have hurt the dogs in an attempt to woo his estranged wife, who always thought he loved his dogs too much.

"It's sick," said Tim Martin. "But I think he was trying to get her back."

Neighbors were saddened by the arrest.

"That guy should win the Oscar," neighbor Bill Collins said. "We stood by his side, and then found out that he did it."

Four of the dogs belong to Martin and one belongs to a neighbor. The dogs will be put up for adoption once they are healthy, said Beth Lockwood, executive director of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Largo.

Dog Gets Legal Representation

CROWN POINT, Ind. - Plenty of lawyers have dogs - but how many dogs have lawyers?

At least one. And his name is Cabic.

Lake Circuit Judge Lorenzo Arredondo appointed an attorney Thursday to represent Cabic at a hearing to determine whether he is a wolf-dog hybrid.

For Cabic, the outcome is a matter of life and death.

Cabic bit one of his owner's Cedar Lake neighbors, Mark Schilling, in the thigh on April 18 when Schilling came to borrow a power tool. The dog's owner, Nancy Armalius, does not dispute that.

But Schilling became ill a few days later and doctors told him the bite wound was infected. Animal Control authorities put the dog on a 10-day quarantine to determine if he has rabies.

However, the 10-day waiting period does not apply to wild animals. Under Indiana law, wolf-dog hybrids are considered wild, said Nicholas Doffin, the county health administrator.

"The incubation periods vary in wild animals so you can't determine how long it takes for the disease to surface," Doffin said.

If the judge rules that Cabic is a hybrid, the animal's head must be removed and sent to the state Health Department laboratory to be tested for rabies.

Schilling believes that Cabic is a German shepherd-wolf mix. Armalius' former husband said the dog was the offspring of a German shepherd and a wolf, but Armalius is not certain, said Priscilla Herochik, Cabic's attorney.

Schilling is receiving a series of rabies vaccinations that likely would keep him from contracting the disease, but he said he wants to know for sure whether the dog could have given him rabies.

"Everybody's talking about statistics but I say, 'Screw the statistics.' Does it have rabies or doesn't it? My peace of mind is more important than any animal," Schilling said.