THE DISTRICT

Lawyer Admits Cheating Estate

A longtime Washington area lawyer pleaded guilty yesterday to stealing more than $52,000 from the estate of a Fairfax County woman.

Thomas R. Dyson, 63, admitted that he took the money after opening three bank accounts to handle the estate of Betty Reed Murray. Murray, who died of cancer in October 1995, wanted her assets given to her two sons. Prosecutors said Dyson made a series of withdrawals in 1995 and 1996 and eventually told the FBI and the woman's family what he had done.

As part of his plea to a wire fraud charge in U.S. District Court in Washington, Dyson, of Berlin, Md., agreed to make restitution to the family. Judge Joyce Hens Green permitted him to remain free until sentencing Sept. 28.

Slaying Victim Identified

Police yesterday identified the victim of a fatal shooting whose body was found in the 2700 block of Langston Place SE Tuesday night. Officers found the body of Mark Kingsbury, 25, of the 2400 block of Hartford Street SE, in a second-floor apartment. He was pronounced dead at D.C. General Hospital at 12:30 a.m. yesterday.

Another man was slain Tuesday night in an unrelated shooting, police said yesterday. John Thomas Crowder, 34, of the 1400 block of Southern Avenue in Oxon Hill, was found in the driver's seat of a car in the 1600 block of Fifth Street NE about 9:20 p.m. with gunshot wounds, police said. He was taken to Washington Hospital Center, where he was pronounced dead at 9:54 p.m., police said.

Police ask that anyone with information on the killings call the D.C. Crime Solvers Unit at 800-673-2777.

Man, 19, Arrested in 2 Killings

A 19-year-old man wanted in two recent slayings was arrested without incident last night, D.C. police said.

Arvin Brown, of the 200 block of 47th Street SE, was charged in the July 3 shooting of Charles Butler, 52, in the 800 block of Otis Place NW and in the June 15 slaying of Donte Green, 26, in the 600 block of Rock Creek Church Road NW, police said. Brown was apprehended around Eighth and Shepherd streets NW, police said. He is scheduled to be arraigned today in D.C. Superior Court.

Suspect Held Pending Trial

A D.C. Superior Court judge yesterday refused a request to release Shane S. DeLeon, accused in the hit-and-run death of American University student Matthew O'Dell, to await trial on second-degree murder charges.

Defense attorney Jennifer Lanoff asked Judge Patricia A. Wynn to consider "the entire history of Mr. DeLeon's cooperation with this case," and not simply the fact that he walked away from a District halfway house last month.

Eight days after DeLeon walked away, police arrested him at the Greyhound bus station in Northeast Washington, where he was holding an outbound ticket. Prosecutor Evan Corcoran sought continued detention without bond, telling Wynn that "we do not want to wait until another innocent person is seriously injured or killed."

DeLeon is accused of being drunk behind the wheel of a pickup truck that slammed into O'Dell, 18, while O'Dell was rollerblading on Nebraska Avenue NW in January. Lanoff said that after DeLeon missed his halfway house curfew, he twice tried to turn himself in. Corcoran said, "That is not an accurate characterization."

The next hearing for DeLeon, who did not speak in court, is July 30.

Norton Touts Judgeship Choice

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) urged President Clinton yesterday to nominate veteran prosecutor Rhonda C. Fields to a federal judgeship.

Fields, who heads the criminal division of the U.S. attorney's office, has been a prosecutor for 26 years, including 14 in the District. In a letter to Clinton, Norton said that Fields has a "deep and complex attachment to the community" and a "universally acclaimed professional reputation."

Clinton has relied upon Norton's judgment in his selections for the D.C. bench. However, two of his most recent nominations for judgeships in U.S. District Court in the District have been stalled while awaiting Senate confirmation hearings. The Senate has yet to act on the nominations of James Klein, a supervisor with the D.C. public defender's office, and Ellen Huvelle, a Superior Court judge.

MARYLAND

Officer's Conviction Overturned

A Maryland appeals court yesterday overturned the manslaughter conviction of a white Baltimore police officer who shot and killed a black motorist during a traffic stop.

A three-judge panel of the Court of Special Appeals ruled that the trial judge erred in not granting a motion to dismiss the charges against Officer Stephen Pagotto for lack of evidence.

The state failed to prove that Pagotto acted with "wanton and abandoned disregard of human life," the standard that prosecutors must meet for an involuntary manslaughter conviction, Judge Charles Moylan Jr. wrote.

Pagotto had testified that he fired accidentally when he was knocked down by Preston Barnes, 22, who tried to drive away following a traffic stop in February 1996.