House panel OKs gay-marriage bill; Man missing, vehicle abandoned in Renton; Cop's action may stop serious charge; Feeds in works for road repairs; Knox's slander case appealed

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Olympia

House panel OKs

gay-marriage bill

A House committee on Monday approved a measure to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington state, setting the stage for final passage this week.

The House Judiciary committee advanced the measure on a 7-5 vote after a final public hearing. The bill could be up for a vote on the House floor as early as Wednesday. The Senate passed the measure on a 28-21 vote last Wednesday. Once passed by the House, the bill would go to Gov. Chris Gregoire for her signature, likely next week.

Renton

Man missing;

vehicle abandoned

The Renton Police Department is seeking the public’s help in finding a 32-year-old man who has been missing since Friday.

Ratchhin Duong was last seen at 5 a.m. Friday in the 100 block of Hoquiam Avenue Northeast in Renton. His vehicle was found abandoned Saturday on Interstate 405 near Northeast 44th Street.

Duong is Cambodian/Chinese. He is 5-foot-6, with brown eyes and black hair. He has a mole on his left cheek, and his right arm is covered in brightly colored tattoos, including koi fish. Duong may be suffering from paranoia and mental illness, police said.

Anyone with information on Duong’s whereabouts is asked to call 911 or the Renton Police Department at 425-430-7500.

Duncannon, Pa.

Cop’s action may

stop serious charge

Prosecutors say a Pennsylvania state trooper, on his last day on the job, issued a minor traffic citation in a crash that killed a Bellevue resident, possibly preventing authorities from filing far more serious charges.

Authorities say a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation truck driver was attempting a U-turn when he struck another vehicle in Watts Township on Aug. 2. The crash killed 43-year-old Hui Satorius, of Bellevue, and injured her 5-year-old daughter.

Perry County District Attorney Charles Chenot said Trooper Kevin Frey arranged to meet the truck driver at a district judge’s office on Friday. It was Frey’s last day before retirement.

Chenot says Frey issued the citation without authorization from the District Attorney’s Office, which was considering charges including homicide by vehicle and involuntary manslaughter against the driver.

Olympia

Fees in works

for road repairs

Washington state lawmakers are pressing ahead with a series of mostly driving-related fee increases to raise money for road repairs and other transportation needs.

The fee increases, which include an 80 percent hike for driver’s licenses, passed out of the Senate Transportation Committee on Monday. They would raise an estimated $52 million next year and an average of $80 million each year over the next decade.

The money is a fraction of the $3.6 billion in transportation funds that Gov. Chris Gregoire had sought to secure over the next decade. The centerpiece of her plan was a $1.50 fee per barrel of oil refined in the state.

The barrel fee was declared dead last week by Senate leaders, though a stripped-down barrel fee remains alive in the House.

Perugia, Italy

Knox’s slander

case appealed

Attorneys for Amanda Knox in Italy have appealed her conviction of slandering Congolese bar owner Diya “Patrick” Lumumba in Perugia, Italy, according to a story by Reuters news service.

The news comes from David Marriott, a spokesman for the Knox family for several years, who told Reuters the appeal was filed in an Italian court Monday.

Knox, of West Seattle, was convicted of slandering Lumumba while she was being questioned by police in connection with the slaying of her British roommate Meredith Kercher in Perugia in 2007. Knox was later convicted of the killing, along with her former Italian boyfriend, but both convictions were reversed on appeal last year.

Knox, who said she was pressured by police at the time, had falsely implicated Lumumba in Kercher’s death. Lumumba was jailed, but released after two weeks.

Lumumba was cleared of any connection with the slaying.

Times staff and news services