- The Washington Times - Monday, December 29, 2008


Woman arrested in 7-year-old’s death

A woman has been arrested in the death of a 7-year-old girl in Southeast, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.

Police said they found the girl in a burning house Friday morning after Carlese Hall, 29, flagged down police and directed them to the fire.

Police said it appears the girl’s injuries were not fire-related. She later died at a hospital.

Miss Hall has been charged with felony murder and cruelty to children. Police say she is hospitalized with injuries related to the incident. They did not say whether she knew the girl.

Woman arrested in boyfriend’s death

A D.C. woman has been arrested in connection with the death of her boyfriend in Southeast, according the Prince George’s County Police Department.

The unidentified 58-year-old woman has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of the boyfriend, who was found early Saturday in the 4900 block of A Street Southeast. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

The woman was at the scene and told police she stabbed him.

Investigators said the couple had attended a party in Capitol Heights and had an argument before the stabbing.

Cab driver shot, in critical condition

A taxi driver was shot over the weekend in Northeast, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.

Police said a passenger got out of the cab early Saturday morning and started shooting at the driver on Webster Street Northeast.

The suspect fled, while the driver got away on foot and called authorities.

The driver was taken to a hospital in critical condition.

Metro sells nearly 8,000 cards

Metro officials say they have already sold nearly 8,000 commemorative farecards featuring an image of President-elect Barack Obama.

The transit agency is offering pre-ordered, one-day farecards and reusable cards, known as SmarTrip cards, on its Web site before the Jan. 20 inauguration.

As of Friday, Metro had sold 1,373 one-day passes at $10 each, after just five days of sales.

It also sold 4,823 SmarTrip cards, which had no fares on them. An additional 1,728 SmarTrip cards were sold with $10 worth of fares.

In addition, Metro has printed 5 million paper commemorative farecards for vending machines in its stations.



Property taxes still increasing

The sagging housing market will not necessarily result in Maryland homeowners having less-expense annual property-tax bills.

More than 700,000 Marylanders will receive new property assessments later this week. And state and county officials say most will be paying higher taxes in 2009.

The situation is the result of tax collectors not yet accounting for the huge increases in assessed values from earlier in the decade.

Maryland has a Homestead Tax Credit, which prevents homeowners from facing huge increases in tax bills in a single year. But that protection also means taxes are likely to keep increasing even when the housing market stagnates or declines.

Still, many homeowners are expecting lower tax bills, says the director of the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation.


Second man held in foiled bank plot

Two men have been arrested in connection with a thwarted bank robbery plot that included the kidnapping of a Prince George’s County family.

State police said Yohannes Surafel, of the District, held the family at gunpoint Saturday morning, while ordering them to drive to the bank where the mother worked. A trooper arrested him during a traffic stop.

Mr. Surafel faces numerous charges, including assault, kidnapping and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

Another suspect, Yosef Tadele, of Silver Spring, has been arrested, and police expect to charge him.

They are being held in connection with holding the bank manager and her family overnight at her Clinton home on Friday. Police are searching for a third suspect.


Man charged in shooting, car theft

An Edgewood man has been charged in a shooting on Christmas Eve, according to the Harford County Sheriff’s Office.

Police said Richard Wagner, 33, met Benjamin Freeman on Wednesday to buy heroin. Mr. Wagner picked up Mr. Freeman and another person, and they drove to Flying Point Road, where they stopped to relieve themselves in the woods.

As they walked back to the car, Mr. Freeman took Mr. Wagner’s cash, shot him and took off in Mr. Wagner’s car, police said.

Police said Mr. Freeman has confessed to robbing and shooting Mr. Wagner. Mr. Freeman is charged with attempted first- and second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault, armed robbery, carjacking and other charges and is being held without bond at the Harford County Detention Center.



Hunter attacked by bear

A Virginia man is recovering after being bitten by a black bear while hunting in the Jefferson National Forest in Botetourt County.

The state Department of Game and Inland Fisheries said the unidentified, 55-year-old hunter from the Fincastle area was attacked Saturday morning.

The agency also said the victim was with a party of hunters when the incident occurred. The bear was chased into a tree and shot by the hunters before leaving the tree and attacking the hunter.

The man suffered a severe laceration to his leg and was taken to Roanoke Memorial Hospital for treatment. The bear was fatally shot by one of the other hunters.


Muslim group sues over zoning refusal

A Muslim group is suing the Henrico County Board of Supervisors for refusing to rezone 3.6 acres to allow construction of a mosque.

The lawsuit in Henrico Circuit Court states the board’s action was “arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable.” The group’s lawyer, state Sen. Henry L. Marsh III, Richmond Democrat, said the board’s position amounts to religious discrimination.

The suit states the county has had four requests to build houses of worship since its land-use plan was adopted in 1995, and the Muslim group’s petition was the only one rejected.

Board Chairman David A. Kaechele said the decision was based on land-use and zoning guidelines, and officials are trying to help the group find a more suitable site.

From staff reports and wire dispatches

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