Cleveland man sought in killing of 5 found dead

CLEVELAND - Police said a man suspected of murdering his wife, his sister-in-law and three young children has killed himself after being confronted by police.

Cleveland police Lt. Thomas Stacho said 33-year-old Davon Crawford shot himself in the head Friday afternoon while holed up in a bathroom at a house believed to be the home of a relative.

Crawford's wife, Lechea, was among those killed in the couple's home Thursday night. The other victims killed were Lechea Crawford's 25-year-old sister Rose Stevens and Stevens' three children: 4-year-old Destiny Woods and 2-year-old twins Dion and Davion Primm.

Lawyers indicate Madoff plea could occur next week

NEW YORK - Bernard Madoff has taken steps that suggest he could plead guilty as early as next week to charges that he carried out one of the biggest financial frauds in history, lawyers said Friday.

Madoff, 70, is waiving his right to have a grand jury hear the government's case against him, agreeing instead to be charged directly by prosecutors, a step defendants take when they are preparing to plead guilty in a case.

It is unclear when a possible plea deal could occur, and negotiations could still fall apart. Madoff has a hearing in Manhattan federal court scheduled for next week that could serve as the venue for a guilty plea.

Man guilty of murdering 5 in Calif. wildfire

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - A jury has convicted an auto mechanic of murdering five federal firefighters who were overrun by an arson wildfire in a Southern California mountain community in 2006.

The guilty verdicts were returned Friday against 38-year-old Raymond Lee Oyler in Riverside County Superior Court. He could face the death penalty.

Oyler has also been convicted of 20 counts of arson. The jury deadlocked on three other arson counts.

Verdicts have yet to be read on 17 counts of using an incendiary device.

Money manager denies purposely crashing plane

INDIANAPOLIS - A money manager charged with trying to escape financial ruin by faking his death in a plane crash denies staging the accident and says in a letter to authorities his estranged wife had no part in any misdealings.

Marcus Schrenker, who's accused of bilking investors of hundreds of thousands of dollars, sent a seven-page letter to Indiana authorities asking them to unfreeze the assets of his wife, Michelle, who is listed as his company's chief financial officer. He also offers to make restitution in return for reduced charges.

Judge: Space tourist lawsuit can proceed

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A federal judge is allowing a Japanese millionaire to go ahead with his lawsuit against a Virginia company that he says unfairly denied him a ride into outer space.

Daisuke Enomoto wanted to be the world's fourth 'space tourist.' He paid $21 million to Space Adventures, the Vienna, Va., company known for brokering such deals with the Russian space agency.

Space Adventures said Enomoto was medically disqualified in 2006 because of kidney stones.

Enomoto said kidney stones were a pretext to boot him off the mission because he refused demands from the company for more money.

Lawyer: Woman didn't swap kids for bird, cash

NEW ORLEANS - The lawyer for a Louisiana woman accused of swapping two children for an exotic bird and $175 in cash said Friday that the charge is false.

Attorney Timmy Fontenot said his client, Donna Greenwell, 53, had good intentions and rejected media reports making her out to be a 'monster.'

'Donna was simply trying to find a good home for children abandoned to her care, and the facts will substantiate this,' Fontenot said.

Greenwell, a long-haul trucker from the central Louisiana town of Pitkin, remains jailed on a $100,000 bond on two counts of sale of minor children. The couple who allegedly bought the children face the same charges and have been freed on $5,000 bond each. The 5-year-old boy and 4-year-old girl, who are in state custody, had been placed in Greenwell's care by their mother last year, authorities said.

Investigators said the alleged swap was negotiated last month by Greenwell after she spotted a flier at a livestock barn offering a cockatoo for $1,500. She called the couple - Paul J. Romero, 46, and Brandy Lynn Romero, 27 of Evangeline Parish - and allegedly offered to deliver the boy and girl for about $2,000.