MARYLAND

Man Gets 4 Years for Robbery Role

A Baltimore man was ordered to serve four years in prison yesterday after he pleaded guilty to helping another man rob a Takoma Park couple at gunpoint as they wrapped presents in their garage last Christmas Eve.

Floyd Montague, 45, must serve the four-year sentence after he finishes serving a four-year sentence for possessing cocaine with the intent to sell it. Montague also is awaiting sentencing for an armed-robbery conviction in Prince George's County, Montgomery County prosecutors said.

Derick Cottman, 36, of Baltimore, also pleaded guilty Monday to the Christmas Eve robbery and was ordered to serve seven years in prison. Cottman, who prosecutors said brandished the gun, is serving 18 years in prison for the Prince George's robbery with Montague.

Gaithersburg Teen Sought in Stabbing

Montgomery County police said they were looking for a 15-year-old youth who walked up to the Gaithersburg home of a 14-year-old acquaintance yesterday, pulled a knife and stabbed him.

The 15-year-old knocked on the other youth's door in the 18500 block of Eagle's Roost Drive about 3:40 p.m., pulled a four-inch pocket knife and stabbed the 14-year-old once in the chest, police spokesman Derek Baliles said.

The 15-year-old fled, and the 14-year-old ran to a friend's home, Baliles said. Police and an ambulance were summoned, and the wounded boy was taken to Suburban Hospital. He was listed in fair condition last night, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Pepper-Spraying Brings 8-Year Term

A College Park man was sentenced yesterday to eight years in prison for spraying a Montgomery County convenience store manager with pepper spray after the manager confronted him about suspected theft from the store, Montgomery prosecutors said.

After a September trial, a Montgomery jury found Bobby Hartfield, 35, guilty of second-degree assault and carrying a weapon openly with an intent to injure.

Prosecutors said the manager tried to stop Hartfield, suspecting that he had stolen something. Hartfield then sprayed the manager in the face and fled, prosecutors said.

THE DISTRICT

Cabdriver Wins Free-Speech Suit

A Southeast Washington taxi driver yesterday won a lawsuit alleging that D.C. police violated his constitutional rights when they arrested him for shouting, "You're lying!" during a 1997 speech by then-Mayor Marion Barry.

The jury in U.S. District Court sided with Vernon V. Humbles, but jurors awarded him only $102 in damages. "They obviously saw this as a case about principle, not money," said his attorney, Arthur B. Spitzer, of the American Civil Liberties Union's Washington office.

Humbles, who attended Barry's State of the District address in April 1997 at the Lincoln Theatre, spoke up when Barry vowed to reform the taxi industry. Barry said that some cabdrivers "want to keep the same old raggedy cabs on the streets of Washington." Humbles booed the mayor and shouted, "You're lying! You're lying!" Spitzer said.

Police arrested him on a charge of disorderly conduct, but prosecutors dropped the case. Humbles's lawsuit cited his rights of free speech.

VIRGINIA

Ex-Judge Goes Directly to Jail

Luther C. Edmonds, the former Norfolk judge convicted of wounding a state delegate, was sent directly to jail yesterday after an Alexandria jury recommended that he receive an 18-month sentence for the crime.

Although Edmonds, 57, will not be sentenced officially until February, Circuit Court Judge Paul M. Peatross Jr. revoked his bond after the jury made its recommendation. Defense attorney Andrew M. Sacks said his client plans to appeal his conviction for the December 1997 pistol-whipping of Del. William P. Robinson (D-Norfolk), who was once Edmonds's chief patron. The case was moved to Alexandria after a Norfolk trial ended in a highly publicized hung jury.