Warner Commutes Death Sentence

Governor Cites Destruction of DNA Evidence

Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) issued his first grant of clemency in a death penalty case, sparing the life of convicted murderer Robin M. Lovitt a day before his scheduled execution.

Lovitt, 41, will instead spend the rest of his life in prison without possibility of parole. He was convicted and sentenced to death in the November 1998 stabbing of Clayton Dicks, 45, during a robbery at a 24-hour pool hall in Arlington.

Warner said that the destruction by an Arlington County court clerk of DNA evidence that might have cleared Lovitt convinced him that Lovitt's sentence should be commuted.

McDonnell Named Attorney General

Deeds Seeks Recount After Losing by 323 Votes

Virginia election officials certified Republican Del. Robert F. McDonnell as the winner of the election for attorney general with 323 more votes than Democratic Sen. R. Creigh Deeds out of 1.94 million cast.

Deeds filed a petition for a statewide recount. Under Virginia law, the state pays for a court-supervised recount when the margin of victory is less than half a percentage point. McDonnell was declared winner with a margin of 0.017 percent.

Towing Company Owner Arrested

Tax Fraud Charges Come After Complaints

George King, owner of Frank's Towing and Recovery, was arrested on 20 counts of tax fraud.

If convicted on all counts, King, 45, of Woodbridge, could face up to 20 years in prison and $50,000 in fines.

Over the years, numerous complaints have been levied against King and his towing service. He is due in court this week for unpaid fines levied against him four years ago for overcharging motorists.

Man Admits to Role in Bank Robberies

Driver for Cell Phone Bandit Pleads Guilty

A Fairfax County man admitted that he was the person on the other end of the line with the cell phone bandit, acting as her lookout and getaway driver as they robbed four Northern Virginia banks.

Dave C. Williams, 19, of the Fairfax City area pleaded guilty in federal court in Alexandria to conspiracy to rob four Wachovia banks, including one in Vienna where he used to work. He agreed to forfeit a 1997 Acura Integra, a 42-inch plasma flat-screen television, 11 Louis Vuitton and Coach purses and other items bought with the more than $48,000 taken in the robberies.

4-Year Sentence in Drowning Attempt

Loudoun Mother Pleaded Guilty to Child Abuse

A Loudoun County woman who tried to drown her two children in a bathtub and then jumped out a second-story window of her home was sentenced to four years in prison.

Isabel Sherr, 31, pleaded guilty in August to two charges of felony child abuse. She had told a neighbor she had tried to drown her 4-year-old son and 19-month-old daughter.

Sherr, who initially had been charged with two counts of attempted capital murder, had faced a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Loudoun Circuit Court Judge Thomas D. Horne sentenced her to 10 years, with all but four suspended.

Clinton Official Guilty of Driving Charge

Plea Could Affect Sandy Berger's Probation

Former Clinton national security adviser Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger pleaded guilty in Fairfax County to reckless driving after he was clocked going 88 mph on Interstate 66.

Berger's attorney did not know what impact the guilty plea might have on Berger's probation for smuggling classified documents from the National Archives.

Berger, 60, was pulled over for speeding on I-66 on Sept. 10, two days after he pleaded guilty to unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents from the National Archives.

He was fined $250 and an additional $67 in court costs.

Cross-County Chase Police investigate the scene in Silver Spring where a silver Honda, at right, crashed after a pursuit from Tysons Corner Center.