Defense Lawyer Accused of Bilking Court
A Washington criminal defense lawyer was indicted by a federal grand jury yesterday on charges that she filed false reimbursement claims for representing indigent defendants in court proceedings.
Retna M. Pullings was indicted in U.S. District Court on six felony counts accusing her of mail fraud and of making false claims. She allegedly submitted phony vouchers to the court for reimbursement under the Criminal Justice Act. Attorneys are paid $75 an hour for representing poor federal defendants.
Prosecutors said Pullings submitted inflated claims in four cases involving more than 70 hours of work that was not performed. She also is accused of submitting inflated bills on behalf of an unnamed defense investigator.
Pullings was rebuked this year by the D.C. Court of Appeals for mishandling the cases of three clients. The appellate court put her on 12 months' probation and ordered her to take ethics classes. Her attorney, Lucy Edwards, declined to comment on the indictment, saying she had not seen it.
Drunk Driver Allegedly Ran Over Friend
A Burke woman who tried to stop a drunk friend from driving by lying down behind his car suffered a broken pelvis early Wednesday when the friend backed over her anyway, Fairfax County police said yesterday.
The driver, Michael F. Smith, 23, of Kinnerly Court in Burke, surrendered to police last night on a felony hit-and-run charge and was ordered held on a $20,000 bond, officials said.
Smith reportedly arrived about 8 p.m. Tuesday at a friend's house in the 7300 block of Mizzen Place in Burke, where he helped work on a car and drank beer. Police said that when Smith wanted to leave about 12:50 a.m. Wednesday, several friends tried to stop him and that Cheryl Beeson, 18, lay down behind his 1976 black Oldsmobile Cutlass.
But Smith drove over Beeson, police said, leaving her with a broken pelvis, a bruised liver and a bruised spleen. She was listed in serious condition yesterday in the intensive care unit at Inova Fairfax Hospital.
Youth Charged in Fatal Shooting
Prince William County police yesterday charged a 17-year-old Dale City youth in the slaying of a Woodbridge man and the wounding of another after an altercation ended in gunfire.
The suspect, who was not identified because of his age, was charged with murder in the slaying of Isaac Lee Brown Jr., 20, of the 1500 block of Tyler Circle in Woodbridge, police spokeswoman Kim Chinn said. The suspect also was charged with aggravated malicious wounding and two counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony.
The other man who was shot was flown to Washington Hospital Center, where he was in fair condition, hospital spokeswoman Marianne Worley said.
The incident occurred about 8:45 p.m. Wednesday in the Woodbridge Forest apartment complex just south of Exit 160 of Interstate 95. Brown and three other youths drove up in a BMW and stepped out to talk to some people, one of whom was the slaying suspect, police said. An altercation ensued, and "for some unknown reason, the suspect started shooting at the four guys," Chinn said.
The two who were not shot fled on foot, and police were able to find only one of them. As of yesterday afternoon, they had not identified the other person who fled the scene.
The slaying was the third in Woodbridge in the past 10 days. A fourth slaying during the same period occurred in nearby Dale City.
Pitchfork-Wielding Customer Disarmed
Customers wrestled a pitchfork from a man who brought the farm tool into a fast-food restaurant in Hagerstown, apparently to settle a dispute with another customer, state police said.
The unidentified man fled the restaurant Thursday morning with a child and was last seen driving away in an old pickup truck, police said.
The pitchfork-wielding man argued with Raegan Keith Thompson, 24, of Hagerstown, and threatened to "poke him" before he was wrestled to the ground by Thompson and other customers.
Compiled from reports by staff writers Bill Miller, Tom Jackman and Steven Ginsberg.