A Spotsylvania County man who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and abduction in the July slaying of a Fairfax County man was incorrectly identified yesterday. Joseph Kern, 23, of the 11200 block of Brock Road, admitted involvement in the death; Timothy Jerman, 20, of the same address, is awaiting trial. (Published 11/11/1999)


Man Pleads Guilty in Kingstowne Slaying

A 20-year-old Spotsylvania County man pleaded guilty yesterday to second-degree murder in the beating death of a Kingstowne man, making him the second person to admit involvement in the July incident.

On the morning of July 11, Fairfax County police found Justin R. Rhatigan, 21, lying behind a house in the 7300 block of Springleigh Way. Rhatigan, who lived nearby on Haynes Point Way, had been severely beaten about the head and upper body and died two days later.

Before his death, detectives arrested Micah O. Bohn, 19, and Joseph Kern, 23, both of the 11200 block of Brock Road in Spotsylvania, and charged them with malicious wounding. Officers later arrested Lisa A. Panko, 18, of the 7300 block of Springleigh Way. According to court records, Panko told police she lured Rhatigan to her town house, where he was beaten by Bohn, Kern and Timothy Jerman, also of the Brock Road address. Panko said the men were angry at Rhatigan for an alleged drug scheme; the three later were indicted on murder charges.

Jerman, scheduled for trial yesterday, instead pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and abduction. Panko pleaded guilty to abduction in September and agreed to testify against the others. Bohn and Kern are awaiting trial.

Teen Testifies About Stabbing Near School

An 18-year-old student at Alexandria's T.C. Williams High School testified yesterday that a 16-year-old youth stabbed him in the stomach during a large fight that broke out across the street from the school during the lunch break Oct. 15.

At a preliminary hearing in Alexandria juvenile court, Reginald Diggins said that the youth, a Fairfax County student, yelled out to him, "Don't come over here!" from the gas station across from the school. Diggins said he approached the youth, and several fights broke out simultaneously.

Detective Dana Lawhorne testified that the 16-year-old told him that he was trying to defend himself when several teenagers jumped him. The youth said he picked up a "flat piece of metal" and lashed out, Lawhorne said.

Judge Stephen W. Rideout found that police had probable cause to charge the youth with malicious wounding and sent the case to the grand jury. If he is indicted, the 16-year-old will be tried as an adult, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Roger A. Canaff said.