School fire: Someone set fire to a row of lockers on the second floor of a Prince George's County high school, the fourth suspicious blaze on a county campus since Friday.
Officials said firefighters arrived yesterday at Gwynn Park High School in Brandywine and were able to contain the fire in about 15 minutes. All 1,400 students were safely evacuated, they said. The fire caused about $2,000 in damage.
On Sunday night, someone set fire to a computer lab at Potomac High School in Oxon Hill, and late Friday, two blazes were started at Flowers High School in Springdale. Those fires caused a combined $51,000 in damage.
Authorities said they don't think the cases are related.
ATM stolen: Two men stole an automated teller machine from an apartment complex in Northwest Washington yesterday, police said.
The men entered the apartment building in the 5400 block of Connecticut Avenue NW about 6:30 a.m. and rolled away the machine with a dolly, said Sgt. John Ruker of the 2nd Police District. Police believe the men drove away with the ATM in a truck or van.
Guilty plea: A former biologist for the FBI's DNA laboratory pleaded guilty yesterday in U.S. District Court in Washington to one count of falsifying more than 100 government lab reports.
The U.S. Justice Department said her actions "did not affect the outcome in any criminal case," but could not say whether a defense attorney might challenge a conviction as a result.
Jacqueline M. Blake, 40, of Upper Marlboro, admitted that she falsified reports on DNA analyses she performed from August 1999 to June 2002. Blake certified that she had completed control tests to verify the outcomes when she had not, authorities alleged.
Bryan Sierra, a Justice Department spokesman, said authorities have retested the evidence, which confirmed the original tests. Blake, who worked at the FBI lab at the Washington headquarters, resigned in June 2002. She is to be sentenced Sept. 20.
Traffic court: Sean T. Connaughton, chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors and Republican candidate for lieutenant governor of Virginia, had his day in court yesterday -- traffic court. Connaughton, 43, faced two charges stemming from an October 2003 incident in which he allegedly disrupted law enforcement authorities as they escorted a funeral procession on Route 234 near Manassas.
Connaughton initially was charged with following too closely a sheriff's deputy's vehicle and failing to yield right of way to an emergency vehicle. Connaughton's attorney, Anthony Kostelecky, chairman of the Manassas Republican Party, entered a plea of not guilty to the first charge on behalf of Connaughton, who did not appear in Prince William County General District Court yesterday. The second charge was dropped.
The not guilty plea to the first charge came with the stipulation that enough facts exist to support a guilty finding. But if Connaughton takes a driving course and pays court costs by July 19, that charge will be dropped as well.
Compiled from reports by staff writers.