Local digest: Officer pleads guilty in assault; cable bill sparks stabbing; fire update

January 6
THE REGION
Officer pleads guilty to assaulting his wife

A veteran D.C. police captain has been given a suspended prison sentence and probation for assault after authorities said he tried to choke his wife in the back of a car in Prince George’s County, according to authorities.

Capt. Lamar West, 49, pleaded guilty to second-degree assault after a jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict following an October trial. A judge declared a mistrial, but West agreed to a deal rather than face a new trial.

Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks said in a statement that West, who has been on the force 23 years, was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison, all of it suspended, and put on 18 months of supervised probation.

— Peter Hermann and Lynh Bui

THE DISTRICT
Missing man in photo
heads back home

The missing man from upstate New York who was found on a heating grate in Washington after being recognized in a photograph was on his way home Monday.

Nicholas Simmons, 20, was released from a hospital Sunday night and, after spending the night in a hotel with his father and older brother, was on his way back to their home in a suburb of Rochester, N.Y., said Peter Gugino, a family friend.

“It’s unbelievable,” Gugino said of the process by which Nicholas Simmons was found.

The family had no idea that he was in Washington before the photo was spotted on a news Web site, Gugino said.

What led Simmons to come to Washington remained unclear.

— Martin Weil

Cable bill sparked stabbing, police say

A man charged with fatally stabbing his wife in a Northeast Washington apartment had been arguing with her over an unpaid cable bill, which led to a violent confrontation, according to court papers filed in D.C. Superior Court.

A friend found the body of Claudia Hall, 51, on Friday in her residence in the 300 block of 18th Place NE. Police said she had been stabbed in the abdomen and choked.

The day before, police officers had found Hall’s husband, Alphonso Cleveland, 52, lying on a street in Northwest Washington, according to court papers. He had been taken to a hospital to be treated for hypothermia, where police said they interviewed him and charged him with second-degree murder while armed.

— Peter Hermann

VIRGINIA
Arlington fire victim expected to survive

A man critically injured in a three-alarm fire Sunday at an Arlington County apartment complex is expected to survive, and nearly all of the more than 100 families initially forced to leave their apartments have returned or were expected to return by Monday evening.

Most families in the Harvey Hall Apartments were allowed back home Sunday night, though those on the second floor and a few others were displaced into Monday, authorities said.

Fire investigators are still working to determine what caused the blaze at 850 S. Greenbrier St., which sent at least three people jumping from the second floor and forced firefighters to take 20 trapped occupants down on ladders.

— Matt Zapotosky

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