- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 4, 2007

DISTRICT

Council to consider single beer sales ban

A D.C. Council committee on Monday gave unanimous approval to a proposal that would ban single sales of alcohol along portions of H Street Northeast.

The decision by the Committee on Public Works and the Environment allowed the measure to be placed on the agenda for the council’s legislative session yesterday.

The resolution, spearheaded by advisory neighborhood commissions near H Street and proposed by the District’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, would place a three-year moratorium on selling single containers of beer and half-pints of liquor from the 700 to 1400 blocks of H Street.

If the measure is approved by the full council, the moratorium could go into effect by next month.

Assault charge for activist dropped

An assault charge against a D.C. government activist stemming from an incident at the John A. Wilson Building has been dropped, her husband said yesterday.

Dorothy Brizill, head of the D.C. government watchdog group D.C. Watch, was arrested last month after a confrontation with the executive assistant to Deputy Mayor for Education Victor Reinoso.

During the incident, Mrs. Brizill said she tried to find out the name of the assistant, Tara Bridgett, by leaning down and trying to read her name tag.

But Miss Bridgett said Mrs. Brizill grabbed the badge hanging around her neck and in doing so also grabbed her shirt.

Mrs. Brizill was arrested and charged with misdemeanor simple assault. At her hearing yesterday in D.C. Superior Court, Mrs. Brizill’s husband, Gary Imhoff, said the prosecutor decided to “no paper” the case, effectively dismissing the charge.

Mrs. Brizill is now “going to consult with attorneys about the next steps,” Mr. Imhoff said.

VIRGINIA

FAIRFAX

Juror’s comment leads to capital case mistrial

A juror’s statement that he was pressured into voting guilty led a Fairfax County judge to declare a mistrial yesterday in the death-penalty trial of a man convicted of two decades-old murders.

The jury last month convicted Alfredo R. Prieto, 41, on two counts of capital murder for the 1988 slayings of George Washington University sweethearts Rachael Raver and Warren Fulton near Reston. Prieto was indicted last year after DNA evidence linked him to what had been a cold case.

The jury was deliberating this week on whether Prieto was mentally retarded when the juror’s letter to Circuit Judge Dennis J. Smith brought the trial to a halt.

The juror said that he wanted to be excused from the trial and that he was facing intense pressure from fellow jurors, The Washington Post reported yesterday. He said he caved in to the pressure when he voted to convict Prieto.

The juror, identified by The Post as a 37-year-old pharmaceutical salesman, said in his letter that he had been ill and that his sickness “contributed to my giving in to the pressure by my fellow jurors. … I failed to stand my ground on my true beliefs and conviction.”

Deliberations in the trial’s guilt phase last month were postponed several days to accommodate the sick juror.

Prieto has been on death row in California’s San Quentin prison since 1991 for raping and murdering a 15-year-old girl. But Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. pushed to have Prieto extradited to Virginia, where a death sentence is much more likely to be carried out.

A 2002 U.S. Supreme Court ruling bars execution of the mentally retarded, and all 12 jurors would have been required to reject the claim of retardation before they could weigh whether Prieto deserved execution. Mental-health experts for the prosecution and defense offered differing opinions on his mental abilities.

WILLIAMSBURG

Gang member charged in online death threat

A 16-year-old Williamsburg boy is charged with making death threats online after a threatening message was left on another teen’s MySpace page.

Police said the victim, also 16, was at the Williamsburg Regional Library on June 20 when he received the message. The message referenced the Crips street gang and said the sender would shoot him with a .38-caliber handgun.

The victim was able to identify the sender, who went by the name “Capone” on the site. Police seized the suspect’s home computer.

According to court documents, the suspect is a member of the Crips gang and was convicted of a gang-related maiming and abduction in November 2005.

Police said the teen is being charged as an adult because of his criminal history.

RICHMOND

Group to challenge college’s coed change

An alumnae-led group announced Monday that it has raised more than $475,000 for its legal fight to preserve Randolph-Macon Woman’s College as an all-female institution.

The group, Preserve Educational Choice, will fund appeals to the Virginia Supreme Court of two lawsuits filed by opponents of the private college’s decision to admit men. Both suits were dismissed in Lynchburg Circuit Court.

The money to continue the legal battle was raised as the school became Randolph College on Sunday and prepares to admit 67 men in the fall.

The first lawsuit, filed by nine students, says the school’s board of trustees breached its contract with students by voting in September to make the 115-year-old school coeducational and by adopting a new curriculum.

The second lawsuit was filed by seven of the nine students involved in the first lawsuit plus two donors. It says that under Virginia trust law, the board of trustees cannot use the college’s assets once it admits men because the school accepted donations when it was primarily for women.

DAMASCUS

Police chief fired amid drug charges

The police chief of a small town in Southwest Virginia arrested last month on charges of distributing methamphetamine and prescription drugs has been fired.

The Damascus Town Council voted unanimously Monday to oust Chief Anthony Stephen Richardson, 40.

Council member Johnny Blevins said after the meeting that Mr. Richardson “was not performing his duties.”

Mr. Richardson was arrested June 23 and faces seven felony charges.

According to the criminal complaint, an informant bought drugs from Mr. Richardson.

MARYLAND

CAMBRIDGE

Man burned house after fight, police say

Cambridge police have charged a man with setting a fire at his girlfriend’s house last week.

Police said Howard Franks, 22, had been arguing with his girlfriend, Someka Darling, and she received threatening text messages on her cell phone from him. On Friday, she woke up to find the back of her home charred.

Police said Mr. Franks cut a screen window at the home in the 700 block of High Street and threw gasoline inside, but the fire extinguished itself overnight. That home and the unoccupied house next door were just slightly damaged.

Mr. Franks’ mother told police that he came home smelling of gasoline. He is charged with arson, attempted murder, reckless endangerment and malicious destruction of property. He is being held without bail.

FREDERICK

Robbery suspect caught calling victims

Police arrested a 17-year-old after he purportedly robbed two persons and then called them a while later to demand more money.

Police said the robbery occurred just before midnight Monday. Two persons told police that they had been approached by a teenager who demanded money and threatened to shoot them.

The robber took several items, including money and a cell phone, Frederick police said.

While police were talking to the victims, the suspect called the cell phone of one of the victims and said he would return some of their stolen items if they gave him more money. After talking to the suspect on the phone for several minutes, officers found and arrested him.

After a brief struggle with police, the suspect was taken to a juvenile facility, police said. Police did not release the names of the suspect or the victims.

BALTIMORE

Killer robbed bank month after release

A Baltimore man pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to a bank robbery he committed the month after his release from custody on a murder charge.

George Chaney III’s claims of illness helped him persuade a state judge to sentence him to time served in the killing.

The murder case was revived in 2005 when authorities received a DNA hit on Chaney, 45, from evidence recovered from the crime scene in 1993.

He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the case in the fall. At the time, he was in a wheelchair. In March, he received a suspended sentence and probation in the killing so he could receive hospice treatment.

But the next month, he held up the Provident Bank in the 2100 block of East Monument Street.

Chaney faces up to 20 years in prison at sentencing in September.

BALTIMORE

Man is first charged under fetal murder law

A man accused of killing the mother of his unborn child will face two murder charges, the first prosecution under Maryland’s fetal homicide law.

A Baltimore County grand jury indicted David Miller, 24, on two counts of first-degree murder Monday in the deaths of Elizabeth Walters, 24, and her unborn baby. She was seven months pregnant.

Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott D. Shellenberger said he intends to prosecute the case himself. Under a law enacted in October 2005, a person who kills a woman who is pregnant with a viable baby can be charged with two homicides.

Mr. Miller, who is married to another woman, is accused of shooting Miss Walters and a long-time friend as they sat in a car at the Parkway Crossing shopping center in Hillendale on June 11. Miss Walters’ friend survived and told police that Mr. Miller was the gunman.

Mr. Miller surrendered the next day.

BALTIMORE

Homicide witness shot week before trial

A man fatally shot in front of his suburban home was listed as a witness in a city homicide case scheduled for trial next week.

Detectives said someone shot Carl S. Lackl, 38, several times just before 9 p.m. Monday in Rosedale, firing from a car that drove past his home. Authorities found him wounded in the street and took him to Franklin Square Hospital, where he died.

Mr. Lackl was a witness in a homicide case against Patrick Byers, who was scheduled for trial July 10, the State’s Attorney’s Office said.

Margaret Burns, a spokeswoman for the State’s Attorney’s Office, said Mr. Lackl did not know Mr. Byers before witnessing the fatal shooting of Larry Haynes on March 4. Miss Burns said Mr. Lackl had been a helpful witness, appearing at every court hearing and trial date prosecutors asked him to.

Miss Burns said she could neither confirm nor deny whether Mr. Lackl was in the witness protection program, but she said a prosecutor discussed the possible danger with him.

A 10-year-old boy saw Mr. Lackl’s shooting, county police said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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