Fairfax County prosecutors filed a charge of capital murder yesterday against an 18-year-old District man who is accused of gunning down an Ethiopian woman on her doorstep near Annandale during a shooting rampage that killed one other person and wounded a third last year.

Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. said yesterday that he is seeking the charge, which could lead to a death sentence, against Dwayne Allen Wright "because of the nature of the killing and evidence of dangerousness." Horan said it was the first time Fairfax has sought to give jurors the option of imposing a death sentence since 1981.

Wright, who was sentenced to two life terms in August in Prince George's County for first-degree murder and attempted murder, is being held in the Fairfax jail. Fairfax prosecutors have charged him in the death of Saba Tekle, a 34-year-old mother who was shot twice during a robbery on Oct. 13, 1989, as she arrived home from work. Police said her sister inside Tekle's apartment heard her cries.

"He killed a woman for no good reason," Horan said.

Prosecutors say the death of Tekle came in 24 hours of bloody violence at the hands of Wright that left three victims in Wright's trail.

At 9:40 p.m. Oct. 12, 1989, Wright, of the 300 block of 14th Place NE, and Robert Ashby, of the 4400 block of Foote Street NE, pulled up to a group of young men standing in an apartment complex in Landover.

"They asked these teenagers, 'Does anyone know Keeno?' " Prince George's prosecutor Jeffrey Harding said. "When they said no, Mr. Wright pulled out a handgun and fired into the crowd several times, striking one of the individuals." The victim survived.

After that, Harding said, Wright drove to Iverson Mall, on Branch Avenue in Hillcrest Heights. He and Ashby spotted a 24-year-old man leaving the closed mall.

"He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time," Harding said. The two men stole the man's jewelry and money, then shot him once in the head and took off in his Chevrolet Blazer.

Harding said that when Ashby and Wright gave a statement to police in the mall shooting, they told police they were stealing property. "The tragic thing about this murder case was they had already taken the property," Harding said. "They didn't need to shoot him.

"He was just gunned down in cold blood for no reason."

Wright was arrested Oct. 15, 1989, in the District, after police spotted him in a car reported to have been driven by Tekle, Fairfax police said.

Ashby and Wright both pleaded guilty in Prince George's to first-degree murder in the mall death, attempted murder in the crowd shooting, and two gun charges. Each was sentenced to two life terms and 20 years on each gun charge. The sentences are to run concurrently.

Under Virginia law, a defendant convicted of capital murder can be sentenced to death or life in prison. The last Fairfax defendant to face such charges, Richard Lee Whitley, was executed three years ago for his 1981 conviction in the brutal sex murder of a Pimmit Hills neighbor.