MARYLAND

D.C. Man Charged in Cornfield Slaying

A Northeast Washington man was arrested and charged yesterday in the shooting death of a man whose body was found in a cornfield in southern Anne Arundel County this month.

Darron Terrell Williams, 29, of the unit block of Riggs Road NE, was charged in Anne Arundel County with first-degree murder and with using a handgun to commit a felony, said Officer Thomas J. O'Connor, a spokesman for the Anne Arundel police.

The dead man, Curtis Ray Rawlings, 35, of the 1900 block of Naylor Road SE, was found July 9 in the 5700 block of Plummer Lane in Lothian.

Detectives tracked down a witness who had used Rawlings's credit card after his death. That witness told police that Williams had lent out the card.

Williams was being held yesterday in the District awaiting extradition to Anne Arundel County, where police believe Rawlings was slain, O'Connor said.

Fire at School Building Ruled Arson

A three-alarm fire that caused an estimated $300,000 worth of damage at a school storage building in Charles County yesterday was deliberately set, officials said.

The fire broke out at 3:40 a.m. in the one-story concrete-block building in the Bryans Road area where school furniture and other materials are stored. In all, 85 firefighters from 12 companies in Charles and Prince George's counties spent two hours trying to bring the blaze under control, said Deputy Chief Robert Thomas of the state fire marshal's office. There were no injuries.

Officials are not saying how the fire started. The fire marshal's office is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest or indictment of those responsible. Anyone with information is asked to call 800-492-7529.

Work Begins Near Grosvenor Station

Noise from track work near the Grosvenor station on Metro's Red Line may affect nearby residents, Metro officials warned yesterday. Starting today and continuing for about two weeks, Metro crews will be doing track work in an area south of the Grosvenor station, officials said. The work will be performed between midnight and 5 a.m., and nearby residents "may hear some activity," Metro officials said.

THE DISTRICT

Man Fatally Shot in Shipley Terrace

A man who appeared to be in his fifties was killed when shot in the back early yesterday in the Shipley Terrace area of Southeast Washington, D.C. police said.

The man was found about 1 a.m. in the 3500 block of Stanton Road by two off-duty police officers who were working as security officers, police said. Police said last night that the man had not been identified. They said they had no suspects and knew of no motive in the shooting.

The killing was the fourth this month in Ward 8. No homicides were reported in the ward last month, the first time in at least 10 years that a month passed there without a killing.

Group Protests Chinese Crackdown

About 200 followers of a Chinese spiritual movement demonstrated yesterday outside the Chinese Embassy and at the Mall to protest Beijing's decision last week to outlaw the sect in China.

The movement, called Falun Gong, teaches that stylized exercises and meditation can improve physical and mental well-being and lead to supernatural insights. The protesters carried signs asking that followers detained by the Chinese government be released. After rallying outside the Connecticut Avenue NW embassy, they went to the Mall, where they demonstrated their ritual practice.

Carjacking, Rape Bring Life Terms

A Northeast Washington man has been sentenced to three terms of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for the carjacking, kidnapping, rape and robbery of a Howard University employee.

Eugene R. Facon, 35, was convicted in March of abducting the employee from a hospital parking garage, then driving her to Fort Totten, where he raped and robbed her. In delivering the sentence Friday, D.C. Superior Court Judge Henry F. Greene said Facon posed a continuing danger to society.

Six weeks before the April 1998 carjacking, Facon, of the 5000 block of 12th Street NE, had been released on parole after serving 11 years of a 36-year sentence at the Lorton Correctional Complex for a series of armed robberies, the U.S. attorney's office said.

VIRGINIA

Metro Starting Springfield Mall Shuttle

Starting tomorrow, Metro will operate a free weekday shuttle service between the Springfield Mall parking garage and the Franconia-Springfield Metrorail station.

The buses will run every 12 minutes from 8 to 11 a.m. and from 3:30 to 8 p.m. Morning buses will arrive at the station three to four minutes before trains depart, and evening buses will leave the station three to four minutes after trains arrive.

Metro officials also said they have leased 500 spaces in the mall parking garage where commuters can park at no charge. The spaces are in Deck A on the garage's sixth level, near Macy's department store.

Officials said the changes are designed to help commuters avoid driving through the construction in the Springfield Mixing Bowl area.

Mother Wins Unemployment Benefits

A former nursing aide fired from her hospital job after she took time off to care for her brain-damaged newborn son has won her yearlong fight for unemployment benefits from the Virginia Employment Commission.

Marilyn Crain was told last week that the commission decided it erred in its original ruling. The agency sent her a lump-sum check for $3,179 to cover the benefits she was denied last year.

Crain gave birth to her son, Steven, in March 1998, three months early and three months before her employer, St. Mary's Hospital in Wise County, would have been obligated to provide 12 weeks of leave and protect her job. After 12 weeks at home caring for Steven, Crain reported for work and was told she had been fired for not keeping the hospital informed of her plans.

Last year, the Employment Commission denied Crain's request for unemployment compensation. But Crain was given a new hearing July 14, and two days later, a hearing officer ruled that she was not guilty of excessive absenteeism or failure to communicate with her employer.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"I was beating up people. I was headed for trouble. Then I started playing soccer. It got me out. Not everybody can be good at soccer, but I tell the kids, 'Work hard at something.' "

-- Pedro Salmeron, coach of a youth soccer program in Fairfax County's Culmore neighborhood, where gangs are making a comeback.