Bond was set at $500,000 yesterday for Charles M. Wantland, accused of murdering 12-year-old Donald Alan Henley of Clinton.

Prince George's County District Court Judge Francis Borelli told Wantland he was "taking your previous record and the nature of this crime into consideration" in setting the high bond. "And, considering the penalty you would face, I think you would have every good reason to run." If convicted of first-degree murder, Wantland could be sentenced to life in prison.

Henley was stabbed 14 times and probably sexually abused, according to the state medical examiner's office.

Wantland, 40, was arrested by county police Monday morning after a canvass of the neighborhood around Henley's home at 9111 Dixon Dr. placed him with the boy about 4 p.m. Saturday minutes after the boy was last seen by a friend. Henley's body was found Sunday in a wooded area.

Wantland was placed in isolation in the County Detention Center yesterday for his own safety, informed sources reported, after he was threatened by other prisoners.

Before bond was set, Assistant State's Attorney Robert Tobin read Wantland's record, including arrests on various charges dating to 1956, to the judge.

Wantland was paroled May 28 from Maryland's Patuxent Institution for Defective Delinquents after serving 5 1/2 years of a 30-year sentence for second-degree murder committed in Baltimore.

He was then hired as a carpentary instructor by Capital Building and Remodelling Co., which was running a federally funded, county-supervised training program at the Berger Mansion, about two miles from the Henley home and less than a mile from where Henley's body was found. Wantland was living at the mansion.

About half the program's 50 participants were bused in each day from the Maryland House of Correction, a state penal facility at Jessup.

Yesterday, reacting to numerous angry phone calls, County Executive Winfield M. Kelly Jr. ordered the training program suspended indefinitely.

TThe county sheriff's department elected to drive Wantland the 200 yards from the detention center to the county courthouse for his bond hearing, rather than have him walk the distance along with nine other men scheduled for such hearings. At the courthouse, he was placed in a cell apart from the other nine.

At his hearing, Wantland stared at the floor, leaning his hands on the table in front of him, as the judge spoke to him. His only utterance was the word "no" when asked if he had anything to say.

County personnel director Donald Weinberg said yesterday the county had carefully screened Capital Building and Remodelling before giving it a one-year, $93,000 grant for the Berger Mansion program.