Other items: Arrests expected in Maryland arsons; rapper's death laid to accidental overdose and a New Jersey airport screeners find and lose a fake bomb in luggage.

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A complete review of disqualified ballots in San Diego’s mayoral race showed yesterday that write-in candidate Donna Frye would have ousted Mayor Dick Murphy had those votes been counted.

The final tally showed that 5,547 voters wrote in Frye’s name but failed to darken the adjoining bubble — enough votes to eclipse Murphy’s 2,108-vote margin of victory in a three-way race.

Frye, a city councilwoman who launched her write-in bid five weeks before the Nov. 2 election, remained undecided on her next move. She has until Jan. 7 — or 30 days from the election’s certification — to pursue a legal challenge.

Sally McPherson, San Diego County’s registrar of voters, determined that ballots with unfilled bubbles cannot be counted under state election law. A Superior Court judge upheld her position last month in a challenge filed by the League of Women Voters of San Diego.

Murphy began his second term last week.

College Park, Md.

Arrests expected in subdivision arsons

Investigators probing arsons at a suburban Washington housing development said yesterday they have several possible suspects and may make arrests soon.

Arsonists set 20 fires and tried to set 10 more last week in a subdivision under construction in Charles County, about 35 miles south of Washington. No one was hurt, but 26 houses were damaged, 10 of them severely.

The fires caused an estimated $10 million in damage and were described as the largest residential arson case in Maryland history.

Early speculation was that the fires were set by environmentalists who believed the upscale houses were a threat to a nearby bog. But no evidence has been found to support that theory, police said.

New York

Rapper’s death laid to accidental overdose

The death of rapper O.D.B. was deemed an accident by the medical examiner, who said yesterday that the rapper died from the combined effects of cocaine and a prescription painkiller.

O.D.B., whose legal name was Russell Jones, died at a Manhattan recording studio Nov. 13 “as a result of intoxication” by cocaine and the painkiller Tramadol, said Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the New York Medical Examiner’s Office.

“The manner of death is an accident,” she said.

O.D.B. complained of chest pains before collapsing at the studio, and was dead by the time paramedics reached him. He was days short of his 36th birthday.

Newark, N.J.

Screeners find, lose fake bomb in luggage

Baggage screeners at Newark Liberty International Airport spotted — and then lost — a fake bomb planted in luggage by a supervisor during a training exercise.

Despite an hours-long search Tuesday night, the bag, containing a fake bomb complete with wires, a detonator and a clock, made it onto an Amsterdam-bound Continental Airlines flight. It was recovered by airport security officials in Amsterdam when the flight landed.


A snowboarder found dead at Vail Ski Resort in Colorado was the boyfriend of Clint Eastwood’s daughter, Alison, authorities said yesterday. Michael Combs, 42, was found Tuesday in trees near the bottom of Vail Mountain, an Eagle County sheriff’s spokeswoman said.

An $11 billion plan to remodel Los Angeles International Airport received final approval by the City Council on Tuesday night.

A fire in a six-story New York apartment building early yesterday killed one person and injured 31 others, and the mayor said firefighters were delayed because a caller reporting the fire gave the wrong address. Six people were in critical condition, three of them children.

Pilots will resume training today at a New Jersey military range that has been shut down since an F-16 fighter accidentally fired at an elementary school last month, officials said. No weapons will be fired for now, Col. Brian Webster said.