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AROUND THE STATE

Confession reported in slaying of woman

NEW YORK (AP) -- A man with a criminal past admitted killing a woman whose body was found stuffed in a suitcase, but he said she attacked him first, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Hassan Malik, already on probation in an unrelated case, was being held without bail after being arraigned Tuesday on a murder charge.

"[Malik] killed a woman, put her in a suitcase and left her on a sidewalk," Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Brendan Tracy told a judge.

A passer-by found the body of 28-year-old Betty Williams in a suitcase Wednesday while rummaging through trash in East Harlem, police said. Police later released surveillance camera video of a man wheeling the suitcase down a sidewalk in the area.

An investigation led police to Malik, 55. He was arrested Monday in suburban Sleepy Hollow after authorities used cell phone records to find him.

Malik told police that Williams had been staying with him in his East Harlem apartment, about three blocks from where her body was found, Tracy said.

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Carbon monoxide cited as 25 are hospitalized

FREEPORT (AP) -- Twenty-five workers at a Nassau County packaging plant were hospitalized Tuesday for exposure to carbon monoxide.

Firefighters responded to the LaMar Plastics Packaging Ltd. plant here Tuesday morning. The county's hazmat team determined that the carbon monoxide likely came from the plant's faulty gas-fired heaters.

Mark Stuparich, a Freeport assistant fire chief, said indoor air readings indicated more than 500 parts per million of carbon monoxide. Normal levels are 5 parts per million or less, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The incident is under investigation.

The injuries were not considered serious, with workers complaining of headaches, dizziness and nausea. Along with the 25 who were hospitalized, 20 others were treated at the scene.

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GOP chairman faces shoplifting charges

WEST NYACK (AP) -- Vincent D. Reda, chairman of the Republican Party in Rockland County, has been arrested on shoplifting charges, but he said that it all was a mistake.

Reda said that he went to return a $198 peacoat at Macy's here Sunday. A security tag went off after he passed a gate at the front door, he said.

Police said Reda, 76, put the coat, which he did not pay for, in a plastic bag and tried to leave the store.

Reda faces misdemeanor charges of petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property. If convicted, he faces up to a year in prison. He is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 12.

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