Shooting suspect recently jailed

· ALGER, Wash. - A shooting rampage in which six people were killed in a series of confrontations from a tiny town to the state's busiest highway ended with the surrender of a troubled man who was recently released from jail, authorities said.

The man's mother said he had been living in the woods and added that a Skagit County sheriff's deputy he's accused of killing had tried to help the family for years.

State Department of Corrections officials identified the gunman in Tuesday's deadly spree as Isaac Zamora, 28, who had just served a six-month jail sentence for drug possession in Skagit County, in northwest Washington.

Jury convicts former professor

· KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - A federal jury convicted a retired University of Tennessee professor Wednesday of passing sensitive information from a U.S. Air Force contract to two foreign research assistants from China and Iran.

The case marked the first time the government used the Arms Export Control Act to crack down on the distribution of restricted data, not hardware, to foreigners in a university setting, prosecutors said.

Pa. bomber pleads guilty

· ERIE, Pa. - A man has admitted he helped plan a bizarre 2003 bank robbery that ended with the death of a Pennsylvania pizza deliveryman with a collar-bomb strapped to his neck.

Kenneth Barnes pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiring to rob a bank and to aiding and abetting. He could be sentenced to life in prison.

The pizza deliveryman, Brian Wells, told police he had been forced at gunpoint to lock the bomb onto his neck and rob the bank. He was killed when the device exploded as police waited for a bomb squad.

Judge denies sex crime charges

· HOUSTON - A federal judge, promising a 'horde of witnesses' in his defense, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges he fondled a former case manager and tried to force her into a sexual act.

U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent was indicted last week on what he called 'flagrant, scurrilous' charges following a Justice Department investigation into complaints by case manager Cathy McBroom.

Trash hauler gets seven years

· NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A Connecticut trash hauler was sentenced to more than seven years in prison Wednesday for a price-fixing conspiracy that authorities say was supported by mob muscle, violence and extortion.

U.S. District Judge Ellen Bree Burns imposed an 87-month prison term on James Galante, 55, of New Fairfield. He pleaded guilty in June to racketeering conspiracy and fraud.

Authorities said Galante paid a quarterly mob tax to the Genovese crime family in exchange for muscle to stifle trash hauling competition and drive up rates for customers.

Night club owners reach settlement

· PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The owners of a nightclub where a 2003 fire killed 100 people have reached a tentative $813,000 settlement with survivors and relatives of those killed, the latest in a flurry of agreements made in the last year to resolve lawsuits over the deadly blaze.

The settlement offer from Jeffrey and Michael Derderian, revealed in court papers Wednesday, will be covered by their insurance policy; the brothers have received bankruptcy protection that shielded them from lawsuits.

Mechanical ape goes missing

· EAST MACHIAS, Maine - An 8-foot mechanical gorilla standing outside a flea market store could move its arms but not much else, and it was heavy.

Now it's disappeared - in broad daylight - and owner Lowell Miller wonders how anyone could move it so easily.

The gorilla was last seen Sunday in front of Sandy's Sales, and Miller realized it was missing when he started to close up at the end of the day. He thought his clerk had wheeled it inside and the clerk thought Miller had moved it.

N.O. residents allowed to return

· NEW ORLEANS - As a stream of traffic queued up on the highways leading back to New Orleans, Mayor Ray Nagin decided Wednesday to let residents who fled Hurricane Gustav back after all - with a stern warning the city was still vulnerable.

Most neighborhoods did not have power, hospitals were running on generators and most businesses remained shuttered.