Woman sentenced to 3 years after injecting son with her own blood

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A Fairfax County, Virginia, woman has been sentenced to three years in prison for injecting her son with her own blood, the Commonwealth’s Attorneys Office confirmed Friday.

Elizabeth Malone, 28, was arrested on a charge of child abuse in spring 2018. Staffers at Inova Children’s Hospital in Falls Church had called officers after seeing Malone act suspiciously in the 5-year-old’s room, Fairfax County police said.

Footage from a hidden camera showed Malone pick up a syringe, empty its contents, refill the syringe with an unknown substance, then insert the substance into the boy’s mouth and nose, according to documents. The footage later helped confirm that the substance was her own blood.

Reportedly, the boy had been brought to the hospital seven times in four months. NBC Washington reports the boy was severely disabled, and the injections led to serious infections. 

Malone may suffer from Munchausen by proxy, Malone’s lawyer told NBC Washington. Munchausen by proxy is a mental health disorder in which a caregiver makes up or causes an illness or injury to someone in their care in order to get attention.

At the hearing Friday, NBC Washington reported Malone pleaded with the judge:

“I’m not a monster. I’m not an evil woman. I love my children,” she said.

Malone has already served one year in prison since her arrest. The sentence confirms she will spend another two years behind bars.

“We hope this sentence will help with the healing process for those whose lives have been forever altered by these evil actions taken against an innocent child,” said Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Casey Lingan.

“This was a truly tragic case.”

WTOP’s Jack Pointer contributed to this story.

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Hate crime argued for 3 Charlottesville white nationalist rally rioters

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Arguments during the sentencing hearing of three California men who pleaded guilty to federal rioting charges connected to the deadly 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, are focused on whether they committed a hate crime.

Benjamin Daley, Thomas Gillen and Michael Miselis each face up to five years in prison. The three were caught on camera punching, kicking and choking counterprotesters during the “Unite the Right” rally on Aug. 12, 2017.

Testimony is focusing on whether or not the crimes were motivated by hate — a hate crime enhancement — which could result in a more severe sentence.

Prosecutors showed U.S. District Court Judge Norman Moon video and still photos of the three before, during and after the rally, in which Heather Heyer was killed. James Alex Fields Jr. drove his car into a group of counterprotesters — he’s been sentenced to life in prison for the murder.

In one photo, the three are pictured in a rented van, traveling to a rally in California; all three are making what prosecutors said is a white power gesture.

Attorneys for the three defendants argue that prosecutors have failed to present any evidence that showed the violence was prompted by the victims’ race, religion, gender or other protected classes.

Video was shown of the white nationalists walking two-by-two near Emancipation Park, after it had been closed by police. At some point, the three were involved in physical clashes with counterprotesters who lined the street.

“These guys have morally reprehensible views,” said Lisa Lorish, defense attorney for Daley, but added that the victims “got in the way and the defendants committed assaults.”

Gillen’s attorney, David Eustis, told the judge: “The counterprotesters got involved because of what they were doing, not who they were.”

Gene Cox, the attorney for Miselis, said the group’s anti-Semitic and racist words and book burning were all First Amendment-protected speech. “If this is an anti-Semitic organization, they’re the world’s most incompetent anti-Semitic organization,” because they didn’t know whether their assault victims were Jewish.

Prosecutor Chris Kavanaugh disagreed: “In the book burning photo, they’re burning ‘Diary of Anne Frank’ and ‘Schindler’s List,’ with a pork chop on top, while making the Nazi salute — to say there’s no link to the people is not true.”

Prosecutors displayed texts between Daley and his mother, in which she expressed her concern about her son. “This is violence, this is not self-defense,” she texted. “Your message is violent — you are not being excommunicated from the family, but your world is going to continue to shrink.”

In the text exchange, Daley insisted Jewish people were responsible for many of the world’s ills. His mother replied: “You have never been harmed by any Jew or Black.”

After additional arguments Friday afternoon, the judge is expected to pronounce his sentence.

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Va. health officials warn of increased respiratory illnesses; Greenspring says no new cases

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The Virginia Department of Health said it’s receiving an increased number of reports of respiratory illness throughout the state compared to previous years, adding that most of those reports are among older adults and those with chronic medical conditions in assisted living and long-term care facilities.

The reports are statewide and involve different diseases.

That includes pertussis (whooping cough), influenza, Haemophilus influenzae infection, Legionnaire’s disease and pneumonia caused by rhinovirus or human metapneumovirus.

“A variety of germs cause respiratory illness, some with increased activity in summer months,” State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, MD, MA, said in a release. “We encourage everyone to take steps to minimize the severity and prevent spreading illness to others.”

The news follows on the heels that three people died and dozens more were sickened by an upper respiratory illness at Greenspring Retirement Community in Springfield.

The Fairfax County Health Department said Friday that it continues to monitor the outbreak.

But the agency had good news: There have been no new illnesses reported in the assisted living and Garden Ridge areas for the last few days, and residents who have been ill are recovering.

The county health department also said the cause of the illnesses has yet to be identified.

“To avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others, it is important to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing,” Oliver said. “To help prevent the spread of germs, avoid close contact with people who are sick. Anyone who is sick should stay home, except when seeking medical care. If you develop difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, immediately seek medical care.”

There was also an outbreak of respiratory illnesses at Heatherwood, an assisted-living facility in Burke, but officials said Wednesday there was no evidence linking the two outbreaks.

Per the Virginia Health Department: Certain groups are especially vulnerable for developing severe respiratory illness, including young children, adults 65 years or older, those with chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart conditions) and those with weakened immune systems.

Extreme heat, such as the heat wave Virginia is currently experiencing, can also be dangerous for older adults and people with heart and lung diseases.

Tips to avoid heat-related illness include drinking plenty of water, keeping cool indoors, dressing for the heat and limiting physical activity, especially in the middle of the day.

For more information about heat-related illness, see the Virginia Department of Health’s website.

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Virginia unemployment fell in June

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After a small increase in Virginia’s unemployment rate in May, the commonwealth’s jobless rate ticked back down in June, and remains well below the national average.

The Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reports Virginia’s June unemployment rate was 2.9%, down from 3% in May, and down from 3% a year earlier.

Maryland’s unemployment rate remains slightly above the 3.7% national average, though it was unchanged in June at 3.8%. A year earlier, Maryland’s unemployment rate was 4%.

Vermont had the lowest state unemployment rate in June, at just 2.1%.

Alaska still has the highest state unemployment rate, unchanged in June at 6.4%.

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Middleburg wants proposals to restore historic Asbury Church

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Middleburg, Virginia, wants someone to buy and restore the historic Asbury Church, the oldest standing church in the town — and price is not as important as the plan.

Middleburg, Virginia, wants someone to buy and restore the historic Asbury Church. Click to expand. (Courtesy Town of Middleburg, Virginia)

The Town of Middleburg owns the property and has spent more than $174,000 to stabilize the structure, but now wants to transfer the property to a new owner who can fully restore, preserve and maintain it.

Middleburg has issued a Request for Proposals, which identifies four key objectives for the building’s restoration: The long-term preservation of the interior and exterior; an owner with the financial capability to complete the restoration and keep it usable for years to come; a plan that provides benefits to the community, and one that limits any negative impacts to the surrounding neighborhood.

No price has been set for the property, and offers from potential buyers will be the lowest-rated criterion.

The Asbury Church’s history includes serving as a storehouse, hospital and morgue during the Civil War. It was transferred from the white Methodist congregation to the African-American Methodist Episcopal congregation in 1864.

The building was in active use up until 1994.

Middleburg has set an Oct. 11 deadline for proposals.

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After flooding, Fairfax Co. declares local emergency; other jurisdictions still adding up damage

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Fairfax County, Virginia, became the latest jurisdiction in the area to declare a local emergency following the flash flooding last week that damaged homes, businesses and roads.

The county Board of Supervisors voted for the declaration this week, which is required in Virginia for local governments that plan to seek disaster relief funding for residents and business owners.

The declaration allows jurisdictions to request additional resources from the state and federal governments and could potentially lead to FEMA assistance.

“We’re going to be in that process today, tomorrow and probably in the next couple months, ensuring that these folks are taken care of,” said Fairfax County Executive Bryan Hill.

Arlington County and the City of Falls Church already declared their own local emergencies. Early next week, the Alexandria City Council plans to discuss doing the same thing.

“That was a 100-year storm that we experienced,” Hill said.

Local governments across the area are still adding up the damage.

In Maryland, where the jurisdictions are not required to go through the process of declaring a local emergency, officials have been reviewing reports from residents and deciding whether they will seek assistance.

“Getting a federal disaster declaration is very difficult,” said Earl Stoddard, director of Montgomery County’s Emergency Management Agency. “We’re not sure we’re going to meet those thresholds, but we want to give our residents the best opportunity to make the case to the state that such a declaration is necessary.”

Reagan National Airport reported 3.3 inches of rain in an hour, including a half-inch of rain in 11 minutes, during the morning of Monday, July 8.

Between 3 and 6 inches of rain had fallen in Montgomery County by 11 a.m.

Water levels at Cameron Run, in Alexandria, a flood-prone area along the Capital Beltway, rose more than 7 feet over 30 minutes, according to the National Weather Service.

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Virginia Gov. hints at plan for free community college

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NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says he could soon be rolling out a plan for free community college tuition.

In a Wednesday announcement, the Democratic governor described a program that would allow Virginia residents to attend community colleges for free in exchange for a year spent working in public service or a high-demand field.

Northam said it would be called G3 for “get skilled, get a job and give back.” He says he expects more details and a formal announcement to come in a few weeks.

The Virginian-Pilot reports Northam’s proposal follows a plan he laid out while campaigning in 2017. At the time, he said the program would initially cost the state $37 million but would earn more than twice that amount back in income taxes after five years.

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Former Virginia inmate wins $1M in medical malpractice suit

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A former Virginia inmate won more than $1 million in a malpractice suit against prison medical staff he accused of improperly treating his broken finger, saying he still feels the effects.

U.S. District Court records show a jury awarded the damages to 32-year-old John Kinlaw on Thursday.

News outlets report he filed a suit against Armor Correctional Health Services Inc., after his release from Lunenburg Correctional Center in 2017. He says he fractured a finger bone in the prison recreation yard and medical staff only gave him an icepack. The suit accuses staff of ignoring X-rays that showed he could need surgery.

The complaint says Kinlaw waited over 100 days before being taken to a specialist, who confirmed his hand healed wrong.

Armor’s lawyers say the jury misunderstood medical facts.

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Virginia GOP House speaker pushes for another tuition freeze

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia GOP House Speaker Kirk Cox says he plans to prioritize education spending if he’s still in power next year.

Cox announced Thursday that his goal is to see Virginia teacher pay catch up to the national average in four years. The speaker is a retired teacher and said he also wants another tuition freeze at state universities next year.

State lawmakers passed a budget earlier this year that boosted public school teacher pay and held college tuition flat.

Cox is leading Republicans in a tough election year. The GOP is trying to hold on to a slim majority in a state that’s increasingly voting for Democratic candidates.

Democrats slammed Cox’s announcement as election-year grandstanding and faulted him for not doing more in past years to address Virginia’s education funding problems.

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Chemical fire empties Virginia plant, causes shelter warning

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ACCOMAC, Va. (AP) — A chemical fire at a poultry plant in Virginia led the plant to be evacuated and locals warned to stay indoors.

News outlets report two tanks holding paracetic acid and sodium chloride caught fire Wednesday afternoon at Perdue Farms in Accomac. The tanks were near a fuel tank, which caused additional worries.

Accomack County Board of Supervisors Chairman Donald L. Hart Jr. says fighting the fire with water could have caused an explosion, so authorities allowed it to burn out.

The facility was completely closed and evacuated. Residents within north and northeast of the facility were warned to stay indoors to avoid current air conditions

The fire was extinguished early Thursday. No injuries were immediately reported. The state Department of Emergency management assisted with cleanup.

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