A D.C. Superior Court jury yesterday convicted a 17-year-old Washington youth of murder and other charges in the shooting death last year of an officer of the Agency for International Development in an alley alongside popular Northwest restaurant.
The government argued that the defendant Duane A. Towles of 2456 Ontario Rd. NW., fired the shot that fatally injured Andre B. Colglitts, 56, during an abortive robbery attempt which policesaid was carried out by Towles and three other youths.
The jury of seven men and five women also found Towles gul by of assault with a dangerous weapon in connection with the wounding of Dr. Patricio Paez. Colnitts' companion who was hot in the left arm during the incident.
Colpitts and Paez had just left the Omega, a Cuban restaurant at 1856 Columbia Rd. NW. and were walking through an alley toward their car when the incident occurred on May 21, 1976, shortly before 11 p.m.
Throughout the trial, the government contended that two of the youths acted as lookouts while Towe's and a third juvenile approached Colpitts and Paez from behind and demanded their wallets. According to Paez, when he responded, "You've got to be kidding," he was shot and then so was Colpitts.
Defense attorneys argued that Paez was unable to positively identify Towles as the assailant. They also questioned the identification of Towles, during a police lineup, by another government witness who testified he drove through the alley moments after the incident and saw two youths pass his car. The witness said one of the two was Towles.
Two of the three other youths allegedly involved in the robber were found "involved" in the District's juvenile court last October in a murder during the commission of a felony and charges of attempted robbery. Both were committed to Oak Hill the District's maximum security detention center for juvenile offenders. Charges were dropped against the third youth.
Towles who was tried as an adult is being held in the D.C. jail. Less than a month before the holding, Towles had escaped from Cedar Knoll, a medium security facility for youths operated by the District in Laurel.
One of the two youths now held at Oak Hill was called as a government witness. When he got to Court, however, the teen-ager testified that a statement he allegedly had made to police was not true and that he could not remember what happened on the night of the incident.
The youth denied an account in the statement that the four were "looking for someone to rob" that night and said he could not recall telling police that he was with Towles when Towles obtained the gun allegedly used in the shooting Colpitts and Paez were shot with a .32 caliber handgun, but the weapon was not recovered, authorities said.
In addition to the felony murder charge and a count of assault with a dangerous weapon the jury also found Towles guilty of two counts of attempted armed robbery, two counts of attempt to commit robbery and carrying a firearm without a license.
Judge Eugene N. Hamilton, who presided at the trial, scheduled sentencing of Towles for Sept. 6.