THE DISTRICT

Mental Patient Not Guilty in Train Fire

A mental patient who set fire to a Metro train in the Judiciary Square station was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Charles Inko-Tariah, 33, of Southeast Washington, was arrested July 31, 1998, shortly after he splashed and ignited gasoline on the floor of a Red Line train. Although there were passengers on the train, no one was hurt, and the fire was extinguished quickly. The incident took place during the afternoon rush hour and caused delays for thousands of subway riders.

Inko-Tariah was charged with damaging or attempting to damage by fire a vehicle used in interstate commerce, a federal offense. A court-appointed psychiatrist determined that he was suffering from a serious mental disease at the time of the incident. Authorities said Inko-Tariah had a history of mental illness, adding that in March 1994 he threatened to set himself on fire in front of the tour entrance at FBI headquarters.

U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. found Inko-Tariah not guilty by reason of insanity yesterday, accepting a recommendation from prosecutors and defense lawyers. Inko-Tariah will remain hospitalized in a federal psychiatric facility while doctors prepare a treatment plan for the court's review next month.

MARYLAND

Lawyer Admits Defrauding Client's Estate

A Rockville lawyer admitted in court yesterday to defrauding the estate of a client, diverting more than $100,000 to himself instead of to the man's heirs.

Jeffrey C. Taylor pleaded guilty to two counts of felony theft, one county of misappropriation by a fiduciary and one count of obstruction of justice. Taylor, 47, also told Circuit Court Judge D. Warren Donohue that he presented false reports to the court for the three years he served as Samuel Ashe III's representative.

Prosecutors learned of Taylor's actions when a complaint was filed charging that he stole more than $33,000 from a client's trust fund in November 1998 to cover the money he owed the Ashe estate. Taylor, through attorney Paul Kemp, has agreed to repay those he defrauded. Disbarment proceedings are pending. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 11.

Babysitter Indicted in Infant's Death

A babysitter has been indicted on charges of first-degree murder in the death of a 4-month-old girl.

The Baltimore County grand jury indictment of Thu Thi Xuan Le, 28, of Owings Mills, occurred one month after the baby, Kimdang Thi Le, was taken to Sinai Hospital with a severe head injury. Assistant State's Attorney John Cox said the baby suffered a blow to the head and brain damage from severe shaking.

Gill Cochran, an attorney for Thu Thi Xuan Le, said the incident was "an accident and nothing intentional." She is being held without bail in the Baltimore County Women's Detention Center.

VIRGINIA

Attacks in Eastern Fairfax May Be Linked

Four women in the Hybla Valley and Groveton areas of eastern Fairfax County have been sexually assaulted by a man with a knife since mid-June, and detectives are investigating whether all four attacks were committed by the same man, Fairfax police said yesterday. Three of the incidents were within several blocks of each other, just west of Richmond Highway.

The most recent assault occurred about 12:15 a.m. Monday. A 33-year-old woman who lives in the 3300 block of Pelican Place told police she was alone inside her mobile home when a man climbed through an unlocked window and held her at knife point, robbed her and sexually assaulted her.

A similar attack occurred July 27 inside a 53-year-old woman's home in the 3900 block of El Soneta Place, police said. The assailant entered through an unlocked door, wielded a knife and robbed the woman. On June 20, another woman was attacked in a nearby home, in the 7900 block of Woodpecker Way, in an assault that involved a knife, a robbery and an open window.

A fourth assault, on June 19, occurred outdoors near Richmond Highway and Memorial Street. A 19-year-old Groveton woman was forced at knife point into a nearby building and sexually assaulted.

The assailant has been described as a black man, 5-foot-9 to 5-foot-11, about 160 pounds, with short, cropped hair. One victim described the suspect as having a beard, and age estimates have varied slightly, from early to late twenties.