Poison pen arrested. Over the weekend, federal investigators arrested the second man suspected of sending poisoned letters to President Barack Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and a Mississippi county judge. Like the first suspect, who was arrested and then released, James Everett Dutschke maintained his innocence last week as investigators searched his home and a business he once owned. Dutschke, 41, now faces charges of “knowingly developing, producing, stockpiling, transferring, acquiring, retaining and possessing a biological agent, toxin and delivery system, for use as a weapon, to wit: ricin.” He faces life in prison if convicted. Investigators say they are confident they have the right man this time.
Permission to enter. The United Nations is appealing to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to allow a chemical weapons inspection team into the country to help determine, once and for all, whether regime forces or rebels used the weapons during recent fighting. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters Sunday he takes allegations of chemical weapons use seriously. The Syrian government wants any investigation limited to an incident in March near Aleppo. Ban said the team also needs to look into another alleged attack in December near Homs. The chemical weapons team already is gathering evidence in both incidents but wants on-the-ground research to help clear up any doubts.
Church attack. Albuquerque, N.M., police arrested a man on Sunday after he leapt over several pews at St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church during the service’s final hymn and stabbed the choir director and several other singers. Members of the congregation subdued the attacker and held him until police arrived. Witnesses said they did not recognize the man, whom they described as being in his late teens or early 20s. Officials have not released his name. None of the wounds appeared to be life-threatening. Once the attacker was handcuffed, one witness said several older female parishioners approached him and said he should forgive himself.
Under contract. The number of signed contracts for home sales rose in March to the highest level in three years. The seasonally adjusted index of 105.7 is 7 percent higher than this time last year and the highest rate since April 2010, when a federal homebuyer’s tax credit helped boost sales. And experts say the number of homes being sold is limited by the number on the market, prompting hopes that the sales figures will increase in the coming months.