Parents Admit They Starved Baby

Two District parents have admitted starving their infant to death, prosecutors announced yesterday.

Tony Hodge, 23, and Kimberly Price, 22, pleaded guilty Thursday in D.C. Superior Court to involuntary manslaughter and child neglect charges in the death of their son, Shawn Price, U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Wainstein said in a statement. The baby was 59 days old when he was found dead in the couple's apartment in the 4500 block of B Street SE on Oct. 19, 2001, Wainstein said.

The D.C. medical examiner's office determined that the child died of malnutrition due to starvation and ruled the death a homicide. Shawn weighed 6 pounds 11 ounces when he was born in August 2001 and less than five pounds when he died.

Hodge and Price face as much as 30 years in prison when they are sentenced this year. Prosecution of the case was delayed in April when Hodge failed to appear for trial.

Slots Backers Say Board Is Stalling

Proponents of a plan to legalize slot machines in the nation's capital accused the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics yesterday of trying to "run out the clock" on the gambling initiative and asked the D.C. Court of Appeals to order the board to place the measure on the Nov. 2 ballot.

In a letter to the court, George Jones, an attorney for slots supporters, complained that the elections board has yet to respond to a request for more information about its decision to bar the slots initiative from the ballot. The request, made by the court a week ago, asks the board to clarify its decision to throw out thousands of petition signatures gathered in support of the gambling measure.

With ballots scheduled to be printed Sept. 28, time is running out on the slots initiative. By failing to respond in a timely manner, the elections board is frustrating "both effective judicial review and the will of the voters of the District of Columbia," Jones wrote.

The board's general counsel, Kenneth J. McGhie, did not respond to messages left at his office yesterday. On Friday, McGhie said the board was crafting a response and would submit it shortly.

At issue is a proposal to install 3,500 slot machines on a site in Northeast Washington. The elections board ruled in August that backers of the proposal failed to gather enough valid signatures of registered voters because thousands of signatures collected during a frenzied five-day petition drive in July were marred by forgery and other irregularities, including false statements by petition circulators.

Slots supporters appealed, saying the board's ruling violated their First Amendment rights. Last week, the court asked the board whether it could justify its ruling without relying on the charge of false statements by circulators.

Residents Defending D.C. Gun Control

District residents head to Capitol Hill today to try to turn back efforts to repeal the city's gun laws. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) will be joined at an afternoon news conference by relatives of several people killed by gunfire.

A measure pending in the House would repeal the city's prohibition against most private gun ownership. Norton said the bill also would block the D.C. Council from enacting laws designed to protect residents from guns.

Business and labor leaders are expected to join Norton at the 1 p.m. news conference. Residents have formed a group called Citizens to Save D.C. Gun Safety Laws to lobby Congress on the issue.

Norton is concerned that a rider to repeal the city's gun laws might be attached to the D.C. appropriations bill when it comes up for a Senate Appropriations Committee vote tomorrow.


Man Rapes, Beats Pedestrian

A 59-year-old woman was raped and beaten Saturday evening after being dragged behind a shopping center, Fairfax County police said yesterday.

The woman was walking along the 2800 block of Graham Road, just south of Lee Highway, about 7:30 p.m. when an assailant grabbed her and dragged her into a wooded area adjacent to the Lee-Graham Shopping Center, police said. There, she was beaten and sexually assaulted, they said.

Police said that she fought back and that her attacker may have suffered injuries to a hand or fingers where she bit him. He is described as Hispanic, about 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighing about 140 pounds. He is believed to have short, dark hair and a mustache. He wore green pants and was shirtless at the time of the attack.

Arlington Hires Designer for Memorial

Arlington County has approved funding for the first step toward building a memorial grove dedicated to the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack at the Pentagon.

The County Board has allocated as much as $182,000 for RTKL Associates to begin designing the tribute.

The memorial would be along Arlington Boulevard between Washington Boulevard and North 10th Street. It would feature 184 trees, one for each victim killed when American Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon.

The memorial grove is to be developed in conjunction with other lighting, landscaping and signage improvements planned for Arlington Boulevard.


Officer Becomes Victim in Carjacking

A D.C. police officer was carjacked at gunpoint early yesterday in Capitol Heights, Prince George's County police said.

The officer was not injured, but the carjackers took her white 2004 Lexus with personalized Maryland tags MZLEXY, said Cpl. Debbi Carlson, a police spokeswoman. The incident occurred about 5 a.m. in a residential neighborhood on Capitol Heights Boulevard, Carlson said.

Information about whether the officer, who was not identified, was on or off duty was unavailable yesterday.

Four Die in Crash on Interstate 83

Four Pennsylvania men, including a pair of brothers, were killed in an early-morning accident yesterday just over the state line in Maryland, police said.

The accident occurred on Interstate 83 in Parkton, Baltimore County, according to Maryland State Police, who were called to the scene at 3:17 a.m.

The victims were identified as Vincenzo Raineri, 25, and Eric Buckingham, 26, both of York, Pa., and brothers Matthew Gantz, 22, and Jonathan Gantz, 25, both of New Freedom, Pa.

The 2003 Audi the men were riding in crashed into a tree, splitting the car in half, police said.

"We've had people comment that they hope that we die, instead of killing the bears."

-- Harry Spiker, chief bear biologist in Maryland, which is preparing for its first bear hunt in 51 years. -- Page A1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Lori Montgomery, Jacqueline L. Salmon and Phuong Ly and the Associated Press.