- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 28, 2006



Woman arrested in murder case

Anne Arundel County police have announced the arrest of a Millersville woman in the death of a man whose body was discovered last week along Old Mill Road.

Cynthia McKay, 49, is charged as an accessory after the fact in the killing of her boyfriend — Anthony Fertitta, 50, of Baltimore.

Police said they found evidence that Mr. Fertitta was killed inside Miss McKay’s home in the 200 block of Nathan Way, not far from where his body was found burning Wednesday.

A police search of the home also found blood and evidence that bleach had been used to clean various areas.

Authorities said Mr. Fertitta died from sharp force injuries to the upper body.


Child with lighter blamed for fire

Investigators said a child playing with a lighter apparently sparked a house fire yesterday that sent two children and two adults running for their lives.

The youngster is thought to have set a couch ablaze in the basement of the home in the 13000 block of Loyola Street, said Pete Piringer, a spokesman for the Montgomery County fire department.

Smoke alarms in the house were activated, and all four persons inside fled to a neighbor’s home, where they called 911. No one was hurt.

Firefighters found a fire in the basement and thick, black smoke in the rest of the house. Damage is estimated at about $350,000.


Court date set in bank robbery

The teen accused of kidnapping a youngster and forcing him to commit a bank robbery faces a preliminary hearing today.

Jeremiah Brown Hall, 17, is charged in a Feb. 8 incident in which authorities said a 14-year-old was threatened if he did not rob a bank.

Police said Mr. Hall took the boy to a Chevy Chase Bank branch in Bethesda and instructed him to give the teller a note implying that he had a gun.

Authorities are looking at whether Mr. Hall is involved in several similar cases. On Jan. 20, a 15-year-old was approached by two persons on a Palmer Park street and forced to rob banks in Landover and New Carrollton.

On Feb. 6, a man approached a juvenile on a Metrobus in New Carrollton and took him to rob a nearby bank, threatening to harm him if he did not do so.

Police have called all of the younger teens victims.


Morning blaze damages home

Fire investigators in Prince George’s County are trying to determine the cause of an early morning fire at a home in the 1600 block of Eastern Avenue.

The fire was reported about 4 a.m. Investigators said the blaze began on the outside of the home and was extinguished quickly.

Damage was estimated at $10,000, and the residents are able to remain in the home.

Fire department spokesman Mark Brady said the incident remains under investigation.


Reporter injured in mugging

A longtime feature writer for the Baltimore Sun was injured during an apparent robbery attempt near City Hall.

Police said Carl Schoettler, 73, was involved in a minor traffic accident about 8 p.m. Saturday on Fayette Street, about a block from City Hall and not far from the paper’s offices, although he was not working.

After the two drivers exchanged information, a pedestrian standing at a nearby bus stop suddenly ran forward and attacked Mr. Schoettler from behind.

As several witnesses used their cell phones to call police for help, the assailant knocked Mr. Schoettler to the ground and kicked him several times in the head.

The attacker fled without taking anything, but police think the motive for the attack was robbery, Detective Charles Corbin said.

Mr. Schoettler was admitted to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in critical condition. He was in serious but stable condition yesterday.


College student dies in off-campus housing

Maryland State Police said the weekend death of a Frostburg State University student did not appear to be the result of foul play, although they were awaiting the results of an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

John Pickett Jr. of Cambridge was pronounced dead on arrival Saturday at a hospital, after an emergency crew found him unconscious in his off-campus housing.

University officials said Mr. Pickett, 20, was a junior majoring in economics with a minor in mathematics.


Lifeguard tryouts get under way

Training and tryouts for lifeguards at Ocean City beaches this summer have begun.

A dozen potential lifeguards showed up for testing Sunday at the season’s first screening at Salisbury University.

“Everything you say or do today, you’re being evaluated on. Today is your first and only chance to make a favorable first impression,” Ocean City Beach Patrol Capt. Butch Arbin told the candidates.

As predicted, half failed. One student failed a timed 400-meter outdoor run in bitter temperatures. Five others quit during a 10-minute, 500-meter swim in an indoor pool.

The remaining six students passed the rest of the tests, which included simulated rescues, a 125-meter sprint and a race that involved dragging lifeguard towers. They will be invited to the patrol’s Surf Rescue academy, a crash course in open-water rescues, riptides, oceanography and communicating with signal flags.

Successful candidates will protect the millions of tourists who cram Ocean City’s 10.5-mile beach each summer.


Supreme Court refuses to reinstate sentence

Virginia lost an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate a death sentence for a man convicted of a Hampton rape and murder more than 20 years after the crime.

The justices refused without comment yesterday to hear the state’s appeal in the case of William Morrisette III, as well as a separate appeal filed by Morrisette’s lawyers.

The high court let stand a Virginia Supreme Court ruling last year that Morrisette is entitled to a new sentencing hearing because the jury that convicted him was given a misleading verdict form.

Morrisette was convicted of capital murder in 2001 for the 1980 rape and slaying of Dorothy White in her home.

The state court said the verdict form did not make clear that the jury could sentence Morrisette to life in prison even if it found that he had shown depravity of mind and would be a continuing threat to society.

Morrisette was charged with killing Miss White after authorities found DNA evidence from the crime scene that was thought to be lost. The evidence matched a DNA sample from Morrisette.


Red Line problems makes going tough

Problems on the Red Line made yesterday morning’s commute one to forget.

Metro said the problems began shortly after 7 a.m., when a Silver Spring-bound train broke down between the Tenleytown-AU and Van Ness-UDC metro stations. The train behind it pushed the broken one into the station, and then both were taken out of service. Metro tried alternating trains on the other track, but the damage already had been done.

Making things worse, at about 9:30 a.m. crews found that the electrified rail was broken near Tenleytown, so trains had to slow down there.

Crews that were supposed to do midday work on another stretch of the Red Line instead spent the day fixing the electrified rail.


Tenants homeless after morning fire

Nearly two dozen people were left homeless by a morning apartment fire in Northwest.

A space heater in a second-floor apartment sparked the blaze that damaged nine units in a building in the 3500 block of 11th Street Northwest, a fire department spokesman said.

The fire broke out at about 6:30 a.m. Department spokesman Alan Etter said firefighters used ladders to help about a dozen people escape from the building’s second floor.

Although several people were evaluated at the scene, there were no injuries.

Fire inspectors have estimated the damage at about $100,000.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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