A 27-year-old apartment maintenance man was convicted yesterday by a Montgomery County Circuit Court jury of the rape-murder-robbery of an 84-year-old Silver Spring woman last Dec. 29..
After deliberating for 22 hours, the jury of six men and six woman found Donald Raye Buckley, of 1325 Fifth Pl. NW, guilty in the death of Anna Podnos, whose partially nude body was found by her son and daughter-in-law in her apartment where she lived alone.
Buckley, who appeared relaxed and confident throughout the 13-day trial, showed no strong emotions when he stood with his attorney, Reginald W. Bours III, to receive the jury's verdict. He is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 10 by Judge Calvin R. Sanders and could get up to life in prison.
According to testimony, Podnos' body was found in the hallway between the living room and a bedroom in her apartment at 2306 Colston Dr., Silver Spring. There were no signs of forced entry and her apartment was partially ransacked.
Within 24 hours police charged Buckley, a maintenance worker in Podnos' building at the Rock Creek Gardens apartment complex.
Assistant state's attorney Stephen J. Savage called witnesses who testified that Buckley's work shirt and a pair of pants were found in the employes' lounge on the day of the murder. FBI investigators found that strands of hair on Buckley's clothing were Podnos,' and matched cloth fibers found on Buckley's pants to two carpets in Podnos' apartment, witnesses said.
Bours, who did not call his client to testify, told the jury that the government's evidence was inconclusive, "purely circumstantial," and did not prove Buckley's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.