A man sought by District of Columbia police for three years in connection with the slaying of a 68-year-old Northeast woman, was arrested by the FBI yesterday in Palm Springs, Calif.

McCajah Harris, 24, was charged as a fugitive from justice and was expected to appear soon at an extradition hearing in Palm Springs. He had been on the 10-most-wanted list of the Washington police department after being charged here in a 1979 first-degree murder warrant with the killing of Margaret Celeste Boyer, a Brookland woman who ran a boarding house.

Boyer's body was found on the second floor of her home at 1215 Taylor St. NE on Aug. 3, 1979. She had been beaten, strangled and stabbed, and left face-down in a bathtub, police said.

Harris at the time was a tenant in the basement of Boyer's home, police said, and was on unauthorized leave from a Richmond halfway house for drug abusers.

The murder charge against Harris attracted notoriety here because he had been in the halfway house for only about two weeks after having been released from a Maryland prison, where he served one year of a 15-year term for raping and assaulting two Howard University women students.

Prince George's County Judge Howard S. Chasanow said then that he released Harris, in part, because the state's psychiatrist testified that Harris was able to be rehabilitated and was a good risk for release to a halfway house.