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July 01, 1976 - Image 1

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1976-07-01

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The Michigan Daily
Vol. LXXXVI, No. 37-S Ann Arbor, Michigan-Thursday, July 1, 1976 Ten Cents Twelve Pages
VA suspects released

Special to The Daily
DETROIT - The two nurses accused
of murdering patients at the Ann Arbor
Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital
were released from jail yesterday after-
noon, after posting $7,500 bond each and
agreeing to meet several court-set con-
"This is a happy day for them," said
Laurence Burgess, the Detroit attorney
for Leonora Perez, one of the two de-
THE BOND MONEY for Perez, 32,
and Filipina Narciso, 30, was raised by

family members and friends, the law-
yer added.
The two women had been held in
Washtenaw County Jail since June 16
in connection with the series of mys-
terious deaths and breathing failures
that took place at the VA Hospital last
summer. Both were employed in the
hospital's Intensive Care Unit at that
A federal grand jury studied the in-
formation gathered in a ten-month FBI
investigation and indicted the nurses on
five counts of first-degree murder and
one count of conspiracy to commit mur-
der. The nurses have been accused of
killing the five patients and poisoning
ten others by injecting them with Pavu-

ton, a powerful muscle-relaxing drug.
BAIL FOR PEREZ was originally set
at $500,000, while Narciso had been de-
nied any bond at all. On Monday, U.S.
District Court Judge Philip Pratt or-
dered bond for the women to be re-set
at $75,000 each. He stipulated that the
women would be released if they could
come up with ten per cent of that
amount in cash.
Perez and Narciso posted bond yester-
day following a hearing in Pratt's De-
troit courtroom.
Burgess said that neither of the wom-
en encountered any problems in rais-
ing the money.
released, Pratt called them before him
and asked if they would promise to
surrender all passports and travel docu-
ments and to report to a court officer
weekly. The women also consented to
limit their travel and residency to Wayne
and Washtenaw Counties.
In addition, the judge required the
nurses to designate a person to main-
tain contact with each defendant and

report to the court if either woman in-
dicates that she might try to leave the
THE. PROSECUTION had feared that
the suspects might be tempted to flee
to their native Philippines if released
on bond because there is no extradition
treaty between the United States and
that country.
Following the hearing, which was at-
tended by a small group of friends and
supporters, Narciso returned home to
Ypsilanti. Perez went to stay with rela-
tives in Ann Arbor.
Both women are now free indefinitely
pending the start of their trial. An exact
date has not yet been set, but law re-
quires that the proceedings begin with-
in 180 days.
Federal prosecutors have indicated that
they know the motive for the killing of
the five patients, but refuse to disclose
it until the trial begins: Other sources
have said that the motive for the mur-
ders was dissatisfaction with working
conditions at the hospital's Intensive Care
Unit, although Assistant U.S. Attorney
Richard Delonis has dismissed these re-
ports as "speculation."

High court
strikes down
'gag order'

A CUSTOMER (left) at the Arcade post office, puts a package into'the
mail. This office, the busiest branch in the city, may close soon when the
new Federal Building operns.
Post office mnay close

Another Ann Arbor landmark may
be about to fall.
The 60-year-old post office nestled
in the southwest corner of Nickel's
Arcade may be forced to close next
April when the new Federal Build-
tng oens downtown.
OVER the years, University stu-
dents and faculty members have en-
joyed using the convenient Arcade
station, located just across the street
from campus. Thousands have waited
for service in seemingly infinite lines
in the tiny post office.
But financial difficulties that have

plagued the U. S. Postal Service may
force users of both the Arcade office
and another station on Main St. to
use the new postal facilities in the
Federal Building, currently under
Postmaster Richard Schneeberger,
whose decision will shape the future
of the office, expressed his personal
hope that the historic facility will not
be closed.
"YOU HAVE to ask, 'Can you
justify keeping it open?"' he said,
but added, "I sure hope so. It's a de-
lightful place."
"We will be taking transaction
See ARCADE, Page 2

WASHINGTON y) -- The Supreme
Court yesterday restricted the power of
judges to censor news media reporting
of criminal cases before they come to
By a unanimous vote, the court struck
down a "gag order" issued by a Nebras-
ka judge last October prohibiting pre-
trial reporting of facts about a widely
publicized mass murder case, including
information brought out at an open pre-
liminary hearing.
CHIEF JUSTICE Warren Burger said
the court did not rule out the possibility
that an order restraining publication
sometimes might be justified to protect
the accused person's right to a fair trial.
But he said that the "barriers . .
remain high" against such action and
that District Judge Hugh Stuart of
North Platte, Neb., did not surmount
them in his order restricting publicity
on the case of Erwin Charles Simants.
E. Barrett Prettyman, a Washington
lawyer who represented Nebraska news
organizations challenging Stuart's or-
der, said there was "no doubt at all"
that the decision would severely limit
the ability of judges to issue such or-
"AT LEAST five of the justices go
even further than the chief justice and

indicate that in no way are these orders
going to pass muster," he said.
In North Platte, Stuart told reporters,
"Obviously I made a mistake if they
overruled it. I was just doing my job."
Simants, 29, an unemployed fence re-
pairman, was arrested last Oct. 22 and
charged with killing six members of a
Sutherland, Neb., family, some of whom
were sexually assaulted. Stuart's order
limiting publicity about the case remain-
ed in effect, and was complied with, un-
til a jury was selected. Simants was
convicted in January and has since ap-
THE COURT said Stuart's order was
"clearly invalid" to the extent that it
prohibited the reporting of testimony in
open court.
"To the extent that it prohibited pub-
lication based on information gained
from other sources, we conclude that the
heavy burden imposed as a condition to
securing a prior restraint was not met,"
the court said.
Justices Byron White, harry Black-
mun, Lewis Powell and William Rehn-
quist joined in Burger's opinion. White
also added a separate opinion saying he
had "grave doubt" whether any such
order could ever be justified and be-
lieved that the eventually the court pro-
bably should say so.
See GAG, Page 2


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