MARYLAND

Prince George's Man Slain During Fight

A Glenarden man was fatally shot during a fight early yesterday as he was leaving a Chinese restaurant in Capitol Heights, Prince George's County police said.

Sean Benjamin Brown, 25, of the 3200 block of Reed Street, was shot once in the chest about 2:20 a.m. during a struggle with an unknown assailant outside the New China Carryout, police said.

Brown had just picked up an order from the restaurant, in the 4100 block of Southern Avenue, police said. He was taken to D.C. General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Police said they didn't have a motive or suspect.

Court Allows Arrest Warrant Photocopy

A photocopy is as good as the real thing, as far as Maryland's Court of Special Appeals is concerned.

A Baltimore County judge threw out evidence last year against a man accused of drug violations, Shawn Patrick Brown, because prosecutors brought to court a photocopy of the arrest warrant used to search his home and collect the evidence, rather than the original document.

The judge cited a historic legal principle known as the Best Evidence Rule, which says defendants have the right to see the original documents, because copies may have been marred by human error.

But the appeals court reversed the decision yesterday and ordered Brown back to court, ruling that with today's advanced technology, photocopies are good enough.

Man Admits to Lying on Gun Form

A Frederick man pleaded guilty yesterday to making a false statement while trying to buy a gun, the first such prosecution in Maryland under the 1996 law regulating gun sales.

Kenneth Santos, 32, admitted in U.S. District Court in Baltimore to lying on a background check form when purchasing a gun at a Wal-Mart in April. Santos checked "no" in response to a question asking if he was the subject of domestic protective order. In reality, his wife had obtained one against him months earlier. Subjects of restraining orders are prohibited from buying guns for a year.

State police caught the lie after checking Santos's form against the state database of restraining orders. Santos was sentenced yesterday to a year and a day in prison.

The issue came to public attention last September, when it was discovered that a clerical error by police allowed a Laurel man under a restraining order to buy the gun he allegedly used to kill his two young children.