Eugene Banks was found guilty of first-degree murder yesterday in the January slaying of a District of Columbia taxi driver after his lawyers and Prince George's County prosecutors worked out a unique agreement that allows Banks, 18, to escape the Maryland death penalty.

The county prosecutors, who originally sought the death penalty in the case, said they decided to withdraw their request because they felt a jury would have been unlikely to impose capital punishment.

Banks, who told police that he and another man shot and killed cabdriver Flora T. Washington, 41, after robbing her of $2 in Columbia Park, was found guilty by Prince George's Circuit Court Judge David G. Ross of the execution-style slaying.

"I think a jury in this area would find it very difficult to impose the death penalty on an 18-year-old boy, regardless of what he did," said Assistant State's Attorney Mike Whalen, who prosecuted Banks for what he called the "horrible, outrageous" crime.

Banks, who was scheduled for sentencing on Oct. 15, could receive life imprisonment for the first-degree murder charge. As part of the agreement with prosecutors, other charges including kidnaping and the use of a handgun during the robbery were dropped.