A 17-year-old youth was arrested yesterday and charged in the slaying of Harry E. Gorin, a 70-year-old retired builder who had hired the youth over the last two years to tend the lawn of Gorin's home at 3120 Appleton St. NW, police reported.

Charles T. Barnes, who authorities said lives with his mother at 1004 Otis Pl. NE, was arraigned as an adult yesterday in D.C. Superior Court, where Judge Henry H. Kennedy set bond at $20,000.

Police said Gorin was beaten to death Tuesday afternoon with a blunt instrument. Gorin's wife, Selma, told police that she found her husband crumpled on the floor at 5:20 p.m. when she returned home.

Early in the investigation, police said there was no sign of forced entry into the bilevel brick house that is just west of Rock Creek Park.

Two weeks ago, the Gorins returned from their winter home in Florida, relatives said. The couple planned to sell the home here and move into an apartment in Georgetown Park.

"They were excited about it," Gorin's brother, Louis, said yesterday. "They were really looking forward to moving, and it had to come to this."

According to a D.C. Superior Court official, one of Barnes' parents brought the youth to police early yesterday. By 1:10 a.m., he had been arrested and charged with homicide, officials said.

Homicide detectives refused to discuss details of the case or the work contacts that the suspect had with the victim. But Louis Gorin talked freely about Barnes, whom he described as a "hard-working, clean-cut kid." The suspect, Louis Gorin said, was working for him Tuesday.

"He was trimming my grass and was taking some tires out of my house," he said. "He was a good worker. You never had to tell him anything twice. My brother would give him lunch in the house. He never had any problems."

Louis Gorin said Barnes worked for him and his brother once a week for about three or four hours. They paid the youth $4 an hour. Saturday was the last day Barnes had worked at Harry Gorin's house, Louis Gorin said.