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News Briefs II

Rap Star Will Not be Retried For Voluntary Manslaughter

Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES

Rap star Snoop Doggy Dogg and his former bodyguard, who were acquitted of murder charges last month, will not be retried on lesser charges of voluntary manslaughter, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced Monday.

Prosecutors Ed Nison and Bobby Grace said they felt that, because of the jury's 9-3 deadlock in favor of acquittal on manslaughter charges, it would be difficult to obtain a conviction against the rapper, whose real name is Calvin Broadus, and ex-bodyguard McKinley Lee.

"We have no new evidence to present," Grace said. "A new prosecution on a manslaughter charge would, in all likelihood, not be successful."

Broadus and Lee were found not guilty of murder and conspiracy charges stemming from the Aug. 25, 1993 shooting death of Philip Woldemariam, 20. After a week of tense deliberations, however, the seven-man, five-woman panel deadlocked on the lesser charges of voluntary manslaughter, prompting the judge to declare a mistrial on Feb. 20. While the defense claimed Lee shot Woldemariam in self defense after he reached for a gun tucked in his waistband, the prosecution alleged that Woldemariam was shot in the back while trying to run for his life.

Broadus was at the wheel of his Jeep Cherokee at the time Lee fired the shots from the passenger seat. The shooting apparently erupted after a gang-related dispute.

Nison said it would have been difficult to retool the theory of the case to prove manslaughter instead murder.

At the request of the prosecution, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Paul G. Flynn dismissed the charges on Monday after a brief status hearing. Broadus still faces unrelated 1993 felony gun charges, but he will remain free on his own recognizance.

Refugees at Drug-Addiction Treating Monastery Cause Stir

The Washington Post
SARABURI, Thailand

While the monastery Wat Thamkrabok has gained its reputation for its unusual methods of treating drug addiction, controversy has arisen recently around its new role as a sanctuary for Hmong refugees from Laos who have settled on the monastery's grounds.

Wat Thamkrabok is now home to some 11,000 Hmong, who live in four villages on the grounds, which were donated by a Sino-Thai woman whose son was cured here of his opium habit 40 years ago.

Many of the older Hmong men were U.S.-backed guerrillas who fought against the current Communist government in Laos. Almost all of the Hmong were addicted to opium when they came here, including, Brother Gordon Baltimore said, 2,000 children addicted since birth, since opium was used as medicine for many types of ailments.

The presence of these refugees has created a diplomatic sticking point between Thailand and Laos, with the Thai government trying to assure the Communist authorities in Vientiane that exiles living here will not engage in subversive activities inside Laos.