A prisoner at the Prince George's County Detention Center who P.G. Inmate Tells of Fear In Identifying Attacker By Tom Vesey Washington Post Staff Writer

A prisoner at the Prince George's County Detention Center who claims he was the victim of an attempted sexual assault there last November testified yesterday that one of his alleged assailants frightened him into writing statements saying he had wrongly identified the inmates involved.

James A. Anderson, 25, testified that two inmates beat him and attempted to sexually assault him in a cellblock Nov. 27.

One of the three inmates charged, Ronald P. Garnett, 24, yesterday denied any involvement in the incident and said he had not tried to pressure Anderson into having the charges dropped.

Anderson, who pleaded guilty last week to first-degree murder in the stabbing death of a 17-year-old retarded youth after prosecutors agreed to withdraw their request for the death penalty, told jurors he had given two statements to prosecutors last month asking that sexual assault charges be dropped because of "mistaken identity."

He said he wrote the statements because he was afraid of retaliation. Prosecutors refused to drop the charges, and after hesitating briefly before the trial began on Tuesday, Anderson agreed to testify as the prosecution's sole witness.

Anderson said he ran into Garnett "about four times" after the incident, and Garnett questioned him about the charges three times. On the third occasion, he said, he assured Garnett he would drop the charges. Garnett replied "that he himself didn't have to get me . . . that anyone else who knew him would get me," Anderson said.

Garnett, who pleaded guilty earlier this week to the assault and battery charges that had led to his imprisonment, told jurors he saw Anderson only once during the period in question and never spoke to him. He said he never asked Anderson to drop the charges, and that he had nothing to do with writing the statements.

The trial is expected to conclude today.