November 14, 2013
THE DISTRICT
Guilty pleas likely
from former teacher

A former D.C. teacher who was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List has reached a deal with federal prosecutors to plead guilty to five charges, including production of child pornography, his attorney said Thursday.

Eric Justin Toth, 31, was arrested in Nicaragua in April after five years on the run. In 2008, he was a third-grade teacher at the exclusive Beauvoir school when an employee allegedly discovered images of child pornography on a school camera assigned to him. Toth fled the D.C. area before he could be apprehended.

The charges against Toth came in the form of a “criminal information,” a document that can only be filed in felony cases with a defendant’s consent and usually signals that a plea deal has been reached. Federal prosecutors declined to comment on the filing.

The charges allege Toth engaged in sexual acts with boys younger than 12 for the purposes of creating child pornography in Wisconsin in 2005, the District in 2006 and Maryland in 2007. Toth worked as a counselor at an all-boys camp in Wisconsin from 2004 to 2006 and was a teacher at Beauvoir during the time period of the second two charges.

— Justin Jouvenal

Officer convicted
of sex assaults

A 22-year veteran of the D.C. police force was found guilty Thursday of seven counts of sexually assaulting a child who sang in the church choir he directed.

Wendel Palmer sat with his hands in front of his mouth as the D.C. Superior Court jury foreman announced the verdicts. Palmer was found guilty of assaulting a then-11-year-old girl who sang in his church choir at the Bethuel Temple Church of Christ Apostolic in Southeast Washington.

During her closing arguments this week, Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Zubrensky said Palmer “used his church as a refuge and his badge as a shield.”

Palmer, 45, who has been in D.C. jail since his arrest in January, is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 31.

— Keith L. Alexander

VIRGINIA
Man shot during Woodbridge robbery

Prince William County police are searching for two men, one of whom was wearing a mask, who were part of a robbery and shooting at a Woodbridge tobacco store Thursday.

Police responded to U.S. 1 Tobacco, at 13434 Jefferson Davis Hwy., about 2:30 p.m. The men, who were armed, shot a male and took an undisclosed amount of cash before fleeing, police said. It was unclear whether they fled in a vehicle or on foot.

Police did not immediately have any further information on the condition of the victim, said Officer Jonathan Perok, a police spokesman. Police do not have a description of the men, he said.

— Jeremy Borden

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