Man Gets 35 Years for Slaying Wife

A Manassas man who admitted he stabbed his estranged wife 14 times from head to toe while her two young daughters watched was sentenced yesterday to 60 years in prison--with 25 years suspended--moments after he turned to a full courtroom and asked her family to forgive him.

Because Prince William County Circuit Court Judge William D. Hamblen suspended 25 years of John Battle's sentence, Battle, 39, will serve up to 35 years for the January slaying of Deborah Battle.

Prince William Commonwealth's Attorney Paul B. Ebert said the 25-year suspension is used as a "club over the defense's head so that if he [Battle] doesn't abide by the terms of his parole, he'll be sent back to prison."

According to testimony, John Battle waited outside Deborah Battle's home for more than an hour before lunging at the 30-year-old woman with a 14-inch Bowie knife as she walked toward her car.

Before hearing his sentence, Battle turned to the courtroom and, with his hands crossed and his shoulders hunched, expressed his remorse. "I'm very sorry for the pain I caused. I have greatly sinned, and I just hope you will be able to forgive me," he said. "I loved Debbie, and she didn't deserve this."

2 1/2-Year Term in Subway Sex Assault

A Fairfax County man who sexually assaulted a lone female passenger on a Metro train was sentenced yesterday to 2 1/2 years in prison, with an additional 7 1/2 years suspended, for attempted forcible sodomy.

Ramananda Hamilton, 20, had admitted that prosecutors had enough evidence to win an assault conviction. The attack occurred between King Street and Van Dorn Street about 11 p.m. May 11. The victim said he grabbed her and forced her head between his legs.

Hamilton faced a maximum of 10 years in prison, but state sentencing guidelines recommended eight months to 2 1/2 years.

Embezzlement Alleged at Care Center

A Sterling woman who worked in the business office of a Reston health care center has been charged with embezzling money from the accounts of two patients, one of whom was dead.

Fairfax County police charged Sheri L. Gazes, 34, of the 46000 block of Ingomar Terrace, after a routine audit at Inova Cameron Glen Care Center uncovered some unauthorized withdrawals

Lisa Wolfington, a spokeswoman for Inova Health System, said the withdrawals, made between April 14 and July 14, totaled $2,200. Both patients had authorized the Cameron Glen center to handle their financial affairs, she said.

Police said Gazes forged the signature of a deceased person on several occasions. Gazes was fired July 27, and the families were reimbursed, Wolfington said.

Gazes was charged with embezzlement and forgery last week and released on a personal recognizance bond.


Mfume Son Pleads Guilty in Drug Case

A son of NAACP President Kweisi Mfume pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court yesterday to drug conspiracy and weapons charges, admitting that he sold cocaine for more than two years for distribution in Washington.

Ronald T. Gray, 29, came to the attention of the Drug Enforcement Administration last spring after another area man was caught with drugs, prosecutors said. That man offered to lead investigators to Gray and told them that Gray had provided him with cocaine on at least 70 occasions, prosecutors said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Crabb Jr. said in court that DEA agents recovered a 12-gauge shotgun and drug paraphernalia after arresting Gray in May at his home in the 1100 block of 5th Street NW. Gray had sold powdered cocaine, which then was converted into crack cocaine for resale, Crabb said.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, Gray faces 70 to 87 months in prison when Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. sentences him Feb. 11. Gray is one of five sons of Mfume, whose given name was Frizzell Gray.


Clinton Man Found Shot to Death

A Clinton man was found shot to death in his home Wednesday night, Prince George's County police said yesterday.

Shortly after 9 p.m. Wednesday, patrol officers went to a home in the 6600 block of Woodley Road to investigate a report of a gunshot, a police spokesman said. Officers found Ernest Colden Smith, 62, lying inside his front door, dead of a gunshot wound. The state medical examiner's office in Baltimore will conduct an autopsy, police said.

Police had no suspects in the attack and had not determined a motive, a police spokesman said.

Woman Charged with Stabbing Boyfriend

A 31-year-old Rockville woman was arrested and charged with first-degree assault yesterday after she pulled a three-inch knife from her purse and stabbed her boyfriend in the arm, Montgomery County police said.

Police said the woman, Devonna Artrice Frazier, of the 1300 block of First Street, had been arguing with her boyfriend at First and Taft streets about 12:40 p.m.

The couple moved their argument to a nearby bus stop in the 1100 block of Taft Street, and Frazier pulled a folding knife from her purse and stabbed her boyfriend in the upper left arm, police said. The couple went into a nearby bakery and asked an employee to call the police.

Yesterday, police declined to identify the woman's boyfriend but said that he lived in Seat Pleasant and that he was taken by ambulance to Shady Grove Adventist Hospital. He was treated and released, police said.