Pickup Believed Used in Gun Store Heist
Truck Found Ablaze in Northeast D.C. Alley
A pickup truck found burning in a District alley is believed to be the vehicle used by a burglar as a battering ram to break into a Manassas gun store on Memorial Day, law enforcement officials said.
A passerby noticed the 1999 white Ford pickup on fire in an alley near Third Street NE and called the fire department, officials said. Officials with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives tracked down the truck's owner, who lives out of state, and are trying to determine whether he has an alibi for the time of the burglary, said Sgt. Bill Goodman, a Manassas City police spokesman.
A surveillance camera captured the burglary at Virginia Arms Co. on videotape. The tape shows the burglar driving the truck, bed first, through the glass storefront. He then can be seen using a long, blunt object to smash a display case of guns and selecting three handguns worth $1,750.
Warner Seeks Changes to State Budget
Legislature Meets for One-Day Session June 16
Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) proposed on Thursday a series of adjustments to the budget passed by the legislature last month that would increase spending for transportation, police, tourism, prosecutors and minority programs.
Warner declared victory last month when the General Assembly agreed to a tax and budget package that was larger than the one he proposed in November. Under state law, governors get one last chance to tinker with the spending plan before it becomes law.
The amendments can be accepted or rejected by the legislature when it meets for a final, one-day session June 16. The state's $60 billion budget will go into effect July 1.
Second Opinion Sought in Boy's Slaying
Shifflett Case Suspect Might Have to Stand Trial
Alexandria's chief prosecutor told a judge that he would like another doctor's opinion on whether Gregory D. Murphy remains incompetent to stand trial in the April 19, 2000, knife attack that killed 8-year-old Kevin Shifflett.
Commonwealth's Attorney S. Randolph Sengel told the court that a psychiatrist has concluded that Murphy remains unable to assist in his defense but that he has shown "significant improvement" with the treatment of a new drug.
New, Old Laws Bring 20-year Sentence
Gang Member Convicted in EconoLodge Slaying
Simon Ernesto Flores-Siliezar, 25 -- one of eight people convicted in the April 26, 2003, slaying of a partygoer at an Arlington County EconoLodge -- was the first in the group to be sentenced under one of several new gang laws designed to staunch the violence by gangs in the state. Prosecutors also used an old law -- murder by mob, the so-called lynching statute.
Flores-Siliezar received 20 years in prison for his role in the melee -- pepper spraying the crowd at the party as fellow gang members chanted "South Side Locos," the name of Flores-Siliezar's gang.
A jury found Flores-Siliezar guilty in February, and Circuit Court Judge William T. Newman sentenced Flores-Siliezar to 15 years on a murder by mob conviction, four years for criminal street gang participation and one year for unlawful wounding.
Across the Region
Two Charged in Slaying; Barry Might Run
* Two suspects -- one 16, the other 18 -- have been charged in the death of an Oxon Hill teenager who was beaten, kicked and left on a road and hit by two cars after he offered to buy a Slurpee for a girl outside a Suitland convenience store. The 16-year-old was charged as an adult.
* Candidate for Life Marion Barry is back, and this time the former mayor is talking about D.C. Council member Sandy Allen's Ward 8 seat. No official announcement, just buzz, but buzz that he apparently started. Allen said he told her it was nothing personal, but he would run against her, that there needed to be a change in the government.