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Suspect Changes Mind Again, Pleads Guilty in Deaths of Northwest Couple

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By Keith L. Alexander
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 10, 2009

A District man charged with killing a Northwest Washington couple in November pleaded guilty yesterday to second-degree murder while armed, a day after he rejected a plea deal and demanded a trial.

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Peiro Fuentes Hernandez, 21, told D.C. Superior Court Judge Michael L. Rankin that he had had time "by himself" to think things over and that he wanted to proceed with the plea.

"I'm feeling a lot better," Fuentes Hernandez said. "I understand everything better now."

Fuentes Hernandez is charged in the deaths of Michael Spevak, 68, a psychiatrist, and his wife, Virginia, 67, a former teacher.

A hearing for a suspected accomplice, Angela Hernandez, who is not related, is scheduled for March 20. A third suspect in the case, a man, has not been apprehended.

New details in the slayings that shocked the Chevy Chase neighborhood emerged as Assistant U.S. Attorney Deborah Sines outlined how the intruders pushed their way into the Spevaks' home in the 5200 block of Belt Road NW, tied them up and then beat and stabbed them.

Sines said that on the evening of Nov. 20, Fuentes Hernandez and two other suspects wanted to "get some money." She said the Spevaks were targeted because Angela Hernandez was friendly with the couple's former foster daughter and once had visited the Spevak house.

Sines said Fuentes Hernandez rang the doorbell. She said he was armed with a metal baton, and another suspect had a knife and a gun.

When Michael Spevak opened the door, the three forced their way inside and began beating him, according to Sines. His wife rushed over as the intruders pushed their way farther inside, Sines said.

They forced Michael Spevak, now bleeding, to identify valuables. Then Fuentes Hernandez tied him to a sofa with two telephone cords, Sines said. The male accomplice tied Virginia Spevak's hands and stuck a cloth in her mouth, then tied her to another sofa, Sines said.

The intruders stole a laptop computer, a cellphone, jewelry and car keys.

"At no time did the Spevaks resist," Sines said. "They told the three to take whatever they wanted."

CONTINUED     1        >

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