MARYLAND

Teen Admits Murdering 15-Year-Old

A 16-year-old Gaithersburg youth pleaded guilty yesterday to first-degree murder in the slaying of a 15-year-old who was beaten and stabbed to death after being blamed for a bad drug deal, prosecutors said.

Aaron Jacob Goldfarb faces a maximum penalty of life in prison when he is sentenced Sept. 2 for the slaying of Kirill Varnovatyy, whose body was found in a Gaithersburg creek last September, two weeks after he was reported missing, prosecutors said.

Goldfarb and two other teenagers lured Varnovatyy into the woods Sept. 7 because they believed he knew someone who had sold them phony drugs, prosecutors said. Goldfarb struck the teenager in a head with a large rock and stabbed him repeatedly after he begged for his life, prosecutors said.

Goldfarb and another teenager returned the next day to wrap Varnovatyy's body in sheets and hide it in a storm drain, prosecutors said. Joseph Philip Morrongiello, 20, of Gaithersburg, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and faces a maximum of 30 years in prison when sentenced in September. Zachery Smith Marshall, 16, also of Gaithersburg, is to stand trial July 26.

THE DISTRICT

Driver Shot to Death After Accident

A man was fatally shot in Northeast Washington early yesterday after being involved in an automobile accident on Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue, D.C. police said.

Keith McSwain, 21, of the 2200 block of Savannah Terrace SE, was driving at the time of the accident about 12:20 a.m. in the 4300 block of Burroughs Avenue. A passenger in the vehicle told police that the other vehicle involved in the collision pulled alongside them and that someone in it opened fire.

McSwain lost consciousness, and the passenger grabbed the steering wheel but crashed in the 5500 block of Burroughs Avenue, police said. McSwain was pronounced dead at D.C. General Hospital. The passenger was not harmed.

Body Found in Washington Channel

D.C. police pulled a body yesterday from the Washington Channel off of Maine Avenue SW, a police spokesman said.

No details were available yesterday as to the sex, age or race of the person found, the spokesman said.

VIRGINIA

Robbery, Chase End in Shootings

A Stafford County robbery suspect shot his accomplice in the face and fatally wounded himself Sunday night after leading police on a chase into Prince William County, authorities said.

Police said the driver of the car slammed on the brakes of his gold Honda on Route 1 in Woodbridge after his passenger, Shawn Erickson, 15, of Woodbridge, shot him with a 9mm handgun. Erickson then shot and killed himself, according to police. The driver was listed in serious condition at Inova Fairfax Hospital.

Erickson and the driver allegedly were involved in an armed robbery at a Stafford gas station just before 11 p.m. Sunday. Stafford County sheriff's deputies chased the two out of the county, and Prince William police picked up the chase. Police said charges are pending against the driver.

Woman Guilty in Alexandria Slaying

An Alexandria Circuit Court judge yesterday found Granada Belk, 38, guilty of second-degree murder in the Dec. 6 stabbing of Alfred Copeland, 52, the prosecutor said.

Judge John Kloch set sentencing for Aug. 5. Belk, who waived her right to a jury trial, faces five to 40 years in prison.

Copeland and his wife had separated in October, when Copeland moved in with Belk, said Commonwealth's Attorney S. Randolph Sengel. The night before the stabbing, Copeland and his wife had agreed to reconcile, he said.

Copeland went to Belk's apartment the next day and was found fatally stabbed at 12:45 p.m., Sengel said. A friend of Belk's testified that he saw Belk threaten Copeland with a knife.