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Dirk Smiler case goes to grand jury

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

VIRGINIA

Dirk Smiler case goes to grand jury

The murder case against a woman accused of killing D.C. goth scene fixture Dirk Smiler was sent to a Fairfax County grand jury Monday for possible indictment, but the judge who heard the case ruled that the woman accused in the shooting could be released on bond before her trial.

In the preliminary hearing for Cara Cottle, 31, evidence from Smiler's autopsy revealed that one of his hands had gunpowder residue and "stippling," indicating that his hand was near the muzzle of the rifle that killed him. Defense attorney Peter D. Greenspun said marks on Cottle's neck indicate that Smiler was choking her when the gun went off during a struggle.

Smiler, 37, and Cottle lived together with several other roommates in a house on Little River Turnpike in Annandale. On Feb. 15, according to testimony Monday by roommate Bryan Bruner, Cottle ran upstairs shortly after a loud noise downstairs and screamed: "Help me, help me! I shot him!" Smiler was dead at the scene of a gunshot wound to the forehead.

Fairfax homicide Detective Robert Bond said the stippling, or burns from a close-range gunshot, and gunpowder residue on Smiler's hand could not have come from the trigger area of the World War II-era rifle.

Chief Fairfax Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Judge Kimberly J. Daniel bound the case over to the Circuit Court grand jury, saying it was "a really close call." Daniel allowed Cottle to post a $50,000 bond and be released.

-- Tom Jackman

THE DISTRICT

Residents get time to challenge pawnshop

A judge awarded a group of residents of a Northwest Washington neighborhood more time to challenge a pawnshop that wants to locate along Georgia Avenue.

Superior Court Judge Alfred S. Irving Jr. granted a six-month stay Friday in a lawsuit filed by three residents who are against Famous Pawn's moving to the 7300 block of Georgia Avenue NW.


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