A 53-year-old truck driver who had been out on bond pending trial for an April 1982 slaying was being held without bond yesterday after his arrest in a shotgun slaying Thursday, prompting new concern by D.C. homicide detectives over release standards in the District.
The man, identified as Ester T. Hairston of 5000 block of Southern Avenue SE, was ordered held yesterday on a charge of first-degree murder in the shooting of Janice Daniels, 24, whom police described as a dancer with whom Hairston had been living.
Police said that they have made arrests in all six homicides they have investigated in the District so far this year, and that in two of the cases, the suspects arrested have a prior arrest or conviction for murder.
At a bond hearing yesterday before D.C. Superior Court Commissioner Joseph Sitnick, Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Leeper argued that Hairston, who police said worked as a truck driver for the D.C. Department of Environmental Services, would present an "obvious danger to the community" if he were released on bond.
Leeper noted that Hairston had been scheduled to go to trial yesterday on charges that in April of last year he shot and killed the woman he was then living with. That trial was postponed until February.
Hairston had been allowed to remain free on bond pending trial on a charge of second-degree murder stemming from the 1982 slaying. Prosecutors said Hairston has told them he acted in self-defense in that incident. Sitnick ordered yesterday that he be held without bond on the new murder charge.
D.C. police homicide detectives said they were concerned about what they described as an apparent increase in recidivist suspects in homicides.
"Our concern is that an increasing number of the homicide cases we are handling involve people who have been arrested on homicide charges before," said Capt. Jimmy Wilson, head of the D.C. homicide branch.
"We expect recidivists in minor crimes such as larceny, but the public is not going to accept a person killing someone who has been previously charged with a homicide," Wilson said.
On Jan. 1, in the city's first murder case of the year, James M. Bigelow, 54, was shot to death in his liquor store at Seventh and L streets NW. Last week, Leroy Farley, 25, of the 200 block of Kentucky Avenue SE, was arrested in the slaying.
Prosecutors and police said Farley had been convicted as a juvenile in l977 for the baseball-bat beating death of Lawrence Leist, 36, in an elevator at an apartment building on O Street NW. Records on any incarceration that may have resulted from that conviction were unavailable because Farley was a juvenile at the time.
He is being held in the Prince George's County Detention Center in Upper Marlboro, awaiting extradition to Washington on the new charge.
Hairston, a truck driver for the D.C. Department of Environmental Services, was charged last June with murder in the April 29 shooting death of Lila Jones. Prosecutors said Hairston told them Jones had attacked him with a knife.
In Thursday's slaying, police said Hairston was arguing in an alley behind Forrester Street SE with Daniels, the woman with whom they said he had been living in a nearby apartment, and allegedly shot her in the stomach with a shotgun.