A neighbor of 16-year-old Randy Moskowitz, the Prince George's County high school newspaper editor found shot to death last September, was arrested yesterday and charged with the slaying.
The suspect, Paul David Luckey, 19, of 2501 Van Buren St., Lewisdale, was a passenger in Moskowitz's car at the time of the slaying, according to Prince George's County police. The motive for the shooting, police said, was a desire to use the car.
"We don't know whether [the killer] said 'let me have your car,' and Moskowitz said 'no' and a fight ensued, or if it was plain and simple taking his car from him," said Lt. Robert Miller of the homicide division.
Moskowitz was slain Sept. 19 and his body discovered the following day in a wooded area near the Prince George's Plaza shopping center. He had been shot six times, at least twice at close range. His full wallet was found in his pants pocket.
The youth's car was missing. Police found it a week after the shooting about three miles away, in a parking lot in Hyattsville.
Moskowitz, managing editor of the student newspaper at Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, had left home about 5:30 p.m. on the night he was killed, intending to pick up a pizza from Mama Lucia's Pizzeria at Prince George's Plaza. He never arrived there.
At some point, Moskowitz gave Luckey a ride, police said. Investigators said they did not know where the two met or whether Luckey had solicited the ride. "They knew each other, so it's possible the two came together without violence . . .," Miller said.
Police have spent months trying to determine a motive for the killing. They said they got a break in the case last week after reaching a "near dead end."
"We talked to hundreds of people," said Miller. "Then one lead we developed fell in line with some other things we had, and this broke for us."
Moskowitz and Luckey were acquaintances but not friends, according to the victim's father, Nathan. "Randy knew him from sight because his [Luckey's] brother and sister were in Randy's school," said Moskowitz. "But he never played with Randy. They weren't friends."
Luckey, who is unemployed, lived several doors away from Moskowitz with his mother, grandmother, brothers and sisters.
He was arrested at home at 1 a.m. yesterday and held without bond on a first-degree murder charge.
Moskowitz, an only child, was starting his junior year at Northwestern High when he was killed.Friends have described him as an intelligent, pleasant youth who would not provoke an attack.
In addition to working on his school paper, the Nor'wester, Moskowitz had a strong interest in computer work. He worked at the University of Maryland computer facilities during the summer.
Nathan Moskowitz said he and his wife were relieved that police have arrested a suspect, yet feel bitterness and anger.
"You never get your son back," said Moskowitz, a systems analyst."It's the ultimate tragedy."