More than four years after Annette Nee, a University of Maryland sophomore, was found shot to death in her Hyattsville apartment, two men were indicted yesterday in her slaying. The indictments climaxed investigation by both police and the young woman's father, who launched a wide search for clues on his own.
Both suspects are already in custody on other charges -- one in Kentucky and the other in St. Elizabeths Hospital.
Over the years since the 19-year-old was found dead in October 1976, her father, Nicholas Nee, had written hundreds of letters to her friends and acquaintances pleading for clues that might help him understand why she was murdered.
When no clues were forthcoming, he took out 20 newspaper ads in which he offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer.
Hundreds of tips poured in, but most were crank calls. None brought Nee or police closer to a solution.
Annette Nee had moved to an apartment on Oglethorpe Street from the commute to school. The apartment was within walking distance of the College Park campus.
She was killed in her living room by one bullet through her nostrils that lodged in her neck. Police said at the time there was no sign of struggle, she had not been assaulted and no weapon was left behind.
Yesterday, a Prince George's County grand jury indicted two Washington men, George Dewey Robinson, 30, and James Settles Jr., 29, on charges of murder, accessory after the fact of murder, use of a handgun, robbery, false imprisonment and daytime housebreaking in Annette Nee's death.
Robinson is in a federal penitentiary in Kentucky on charges of burglary and grand larceny. Settles is in St. Elizabeths Hospital on a charge of attempting to murder a police officer, police said.
Police said that although they received information about the possible identity of the suspects within a year of the slaying, they could not corroborate that information until recently. The information resulted from contacting "regular police sources," police said, and was not the result of Nee's letters or newspaper ads.
There is a possibility, police said, that Nee will have to reward one of the informants with his promised $10,000, which he obtained from his credit union and has placed in a special account. Whether Nee must award the money, one source said, depends on whether it can be proven that an informant was not an accomplice in the case.
Police said they have no reason to believe that the two suspects knew Annette Nee. Robbery was the apparent motive for the killing, according to a spokesman for the county prosecutor's office. The young woman's pocket calculator and some cash were stolen from her apartment, the spokesman said.
In the Prince George's County courthouse yesterday, Nicholas Nee said he felt dazed when police called him Tuesday night and said two men might be indicted in his daughter's murder. "I am still heartbroken," Nee said. "It is very traumatic.
Nee, who has another daughter, a college student, is a translator for the U.S. Army who came to this country from China during World War II.
Although Nee is pleased that two suspects have been indicted in his daughter's killing, he is still tormented by one question. "Why," he asks, "did they pick my daughter's apartment?"