Vandalism of Menorah Denounced

Georgetown University's president, the Rev. Leo J. O'Donovan, met last night with the Catholic college's Jewish Students Association to convey his condemnation of Saturday's desecration of an on-campus menorah, school officials and students said.

The eight-foot menorah, set up Friday night by the student group to mark the start of Hanukah, was knocked over and bent and its electric bulbs were shattered in the pre-dawn hours of Saturday, according to Steve Glickman, president of the Jewish Students Association.

Describing himself as "shocked and profoundly saddened" by the "deeply offensive" desecration, O'Donovan said it would only "intensify our respect and care for each other." In protest of the destruction, scores of students of other faiths, including Catholics, Muslims and Protestants, pledged to stand vigil at the menorah, back in place after being repaired, until Hanukah's end on Friday, Glickman said.

"Student groups have shown really strong support," he added.

There have been no arrests.

Jewish students have put up the menorah on campus for about four years, Glickman said.

Man Fatally Shot in Columbia Heights

A 21-year-old man was shot and killed Sunday night in the Columbia Heights section of Northwest Washington, police said.

Patrick Michael Smith, of the 3400 block of 10th Place SE, was found in the 1400 block of Harvard Street NW about 11:40 p.m., police said. Smith, who was slumped in the driver's seat of a parked vehicle, had been shot in the head, police said. He was pronounced dead at 2:15 a.m. yesterday.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the D.C. Crime Solvers Unit at 800-673-2777.


More Subpoenas Issued in Tripp Case

The prosecutor in the Linda R. Tripp wiretapping case yesterday subpoenaed an editor at Newsweek magazine, as well as three members of Tripp's bridge club, to testify next week in a significant phase of the case, according to court records.

Tripp is charged with illegally taping a phone conversation with former White House intern Monica S. Lewinsky and illegally disclosing the conversation to Newsweek.

Subpoenas also went out yesterday to two Radio Shack employees who sold Tripp the recorder she used to make the tape of Lewinsky; a neighbor of Tripp's; a friend who works at the State Department; and a member of State Prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli's own office.

On Monday, Howard County Circuit Court Judge Diane O. Leasure will hear arguments on whether the key piece of evidence--the tape itself--can be used against Tripp. Five already-subpoenaed members of former independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr's office are expected to testify that the tape cannot be used because of immunity granted Tripp in January 1998.

Wheaton Teen Cleared in Bomb Threat

A 16-year-old Wheaton girl was found not involved yesterday in a bomb threat phoned in to Wheaton High School in May, four days before Washington area schools braced for possible fallout from "Fear May 10" threats spray-painted at some schools.

Montgomery County District Court Judge Barry Hamilton ruled that prosecutors did not have enough evidence to prove that the girl called in a bomb threat to Wheaton High from a phone at the school, according to Montgomery prosecutors and the girl's attorney, Neil Jacobs. The girl is not being named because she was prosecuted as a juvenile; she is still contesting her expulsion from school, Jacobs said.


Guilty Plea in Slaying of Organist

A 29-year-old Franconia man admitted yesterday that he strangled a renowned church organist and stole the man's car last year, and Fairfax County Circuit Judge Michael P. McWeeny sentenced him to 25 years in prison.

Michael D. Waits, an unemployed waiter, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the October 1998 death of David W. Rider, 44. Rider's body was found in his apartment on Rock Ridge Lane in Franconia after he didn't appear for work at the doctors' office he managed.

Rider was organist and musical director at Heritage Presbyterian Church, and he gave recitals throughout the East.

After Fairfax detectives sought the public's assistance in finding Rider's missing Suzuki Sidekick automobile, Waits turned himself in to police. In an agreement with prosecutors, he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, and he entered an Alford plea--not admitting guilt but conceding that there was sufficient evidence to convict him--to a robbery charge. "He felt terrible," said defense attorney Richard C. Goemann, "and wanted to take responsibility for his actions."