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28130: Hermantin(News)Hearing is again delayed in case of skull smuggling (fwd)

From: leonie hermantin <lhermantin@hotmail.com>

Posted on Fri, Mar. 17, 2006

Hearing is again delayed in case of skull smuggling


The arraignment for Myrlene Severe, charged with intentionally smuggling a human skull into the United States, has been postponed again.

Severe and her attorney, Kenneth Hassett, asked U.S. Magistrate Edwin G. Torres to reschedule the hearing to the end of the month.

The hearing was originally scheduled for March 2, but it was postponed until Thursday.

Severe, who was in court, did not speak to the media. Her arraignment is now scheduled for March 31 in front of U.S. Magistrate Lurana S. Snow.

Severe, a native of Haiti, was arrested and charged with intentionally smuggling a human head into the United States and not having the proper paperwork, as well as bringing hazardous material onto an airplane.

Each count carries a five-year maximum sentence.

Hassett said he is working with prosecutors to resolve the case. He also wants to avoid his client being deported.

''She lives here,'' Hassett said after the hearing in federal court in Fort Lauderdale. ``She is a resident.''

Federal agents found the skull in Severe's luggage Feb. 9 after her Lynx Airline flight arrived at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport from Haiti.

The skull, which had black curly hair, was found nestled inside a cotton rice bag, tucked among a banana leaf, some dirt, small stones and a rusty iron nail.

Severe told officers from U.S. Customs and Border Protection that she got the ''package'' from a Haitian man and planned to use it to ward off evil spirits as part of her Vodou beliefs, according to a federal affidavit.


 2006 MiamiHerald.com and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.