A businesswoman who had rented a house to a man who fatally shot an eviction worker there last year, was found not guilty by a D.C. Superior Court jury yesterday of eight charges that she acted as a real estate broker without a license.
Rita A. Walker, a resident of Fairfax County, was accused by prosecutors of tricking homeowners with financial problems into giving up title to their property in exchange for promises that Walker would help them with their debts.
In March 1983, Johnny Williams, 61, fatally shot an eviction crewman who had come with U.S. deputy marshals to remove him from his house at 1529 Spring Place NW.
Walker had filed a court claim for possession of the property after Williams failed to pay $300 monthly rent.
Williams, who later pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree murder, said he had agreed to take a loan from Walker on the property, which he originally had purchased in 1969, but never knew that he had signed over the deed to her.
The D.C. corporation counsel's office charged Walker in connection with that transaction and seven others, alleging that she engaged in property sales without a license.
Walker's attorney, W. Edward Thompson, argued, however, that Walker never had claimed to be a real estate agent and that the transactions in question were proper rental arrangements for which she was not required to hold a broker's license.