MARYLAND

Murder Acquittal After a two-day trial, a Prince George's County jury deliberated for about 45 minutes yesterday before acquitting a District man on charges of first-degree murder in an Oxon Hill killing.

The Circuit Court jury also acquitted Oris V. Watts, 19, on a handgun charge in the Oct. 5, 2004, death of Jonathan Foster. Foster, who also lived in the District, was shot multiple times in the 800 block of Southern Avenue.

A witness picked Watts out of a photo array and testified for the state, and a co-defendant who pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact also testified for the prosecution. Watts's defense attorney, Assistant Public Defender Janet Hart, told jurors in her closing argument that someone other than her client shot Foster.

Drug Conviction An Annapolis man convicted of drug distribution is facing more than 13 years in prison.

A federal judge in Baltimore yesterday sentenced Donnell Edmonds, 32, to 13 years and six months behind bars and another five years of probation.

In court documents accompanying his guilty plea, Edmonds said he and associates distributed cocaine in an Annapolis housing complex from November 2001 to January 2004. Prosecutors said that Edmonds made at least five trips to New York to bring cocaine back to Maryland. Investigators said Edmonds transported at least a kilogram of drugs on each trip.

According to prosecutors, the cocaine was later manufactured into crack and sold in Annapolis.

THE DISTRICT

Guilty Plea The 19-year-old charged with killing a man in a robbery last month in Columbia Heights pleaded guilty yesterday to second-degree murder, the U.S. attorney's office said.

Malcolm Pearsall of the 1400 block of Chapin Street NW admitted opening fire during a robbery about 3 a.m. July 23 in a building in the 2800 block of 15th Street NW.

Cervano Hernandez, 21, was killed, and another man was wounded, authorities said. The robbery was recorded by a hidden surveillance camera in the lobby.

Pearsall, who also pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, is to be sentenced Nov. 15.

Compiled from reports by staff writers and the Associated Press.