A 21-year-old Southeast Washington man was charged with homicide yesterday in the slaying Saturday of an 18-year-old Georgetown University woman student at an elegant Wisconsin Avenue NW clothing store where she worked, D.C. police said.
Police identified the suspect as George Bonzille Kebe Jr. of 2363 Ainger Pl. SE, who is on probation until 1984 after serving two years in a federal prison in Florida on a charge of receiving stolen property.
According to police, Kebe also was free on personal recognizance after being charged several weeks ago with larceny from a Dart Drug store here.
He will be arraigned in D.C. Superior Court today on the homicide charge and evidence on that charge will be presented to the grand jury, police said. He was held last night in the central cellblock at police headquarters.
Kebe was arrested after a robbery yesterday afternoon of the Baracat Imports jewelry store at 2030 T St. NW. Police said Kebe told his arresting officers, Edward Sierra and Charles H. Pfefferle of the 3rd Police District, "You guys know about that murder over in Georgetown; I have some information for you."
Kebe later implicated himself in the slaying in conversations with homicide detectives, investigators said.
Investigators were observed carrying several plastic bags, presumably containing evidence, from Kebe's home last night. But police would not reveal what evidence they had that they believed linked Kebe to the slaying of Maureen Alison McGrath, a freshman in Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service.
Her body, partially crammed inside a utility closet, was found at 1 p.m. inside Regent Place, a men's clothing store at 1641 Wisconsin Ave. NW, were she had worked part time for two months. The slaying took place as Saturday shoppers crowded the streets outside.
Although McGrath and her assailant apparently were the only persons inside the store when she was killed, witnesses told police they saw a man clutching a plastic bag and running from the shop shortly before the body was found.
Police investigators reported that McGrath's clothes were in disarray and spattered with blood.An autopsy report later revealed she had been stabbed, but that the casuse of death was strangulation. McGrath had been strangled with a scarf that was in stock at the shop, and had been stabbed several times with a pair of small scissors, police said.
Police officials said that during the course of the investigation, dozens of D.C. police officers searched scores of blocks around the scene of the slaying, and interviewed hundreds of witnesses.
According to police, Kebe was arrested and charged with robbery at 2:05 p.m. yesterday after he allegedly held up the jewelry store. Store employes told police that a man they identified as Kebe came into the store, asked to see jewelry, and then put his hand in his pocket and said he was armed. Police said the man told the employes to hand over the jewelry. The bandit grabbed several items, which later were recovered.
Police said the man ran around the corner, chased by Gabriel Baracat, owner of Baracat Imports, and into the Empress Restaurant at 1875 Connecticut Ave. NW.
David Lee, owner of the Empress, told a reporter that the man, later identified as Kebe, ran into the kitchen. When he found he couldn't leave through there, Lee said, Kebe ran through the restaurant again, but was grabbed and held by Mike Lu, 31, the maitre d'hotel.
"The owner of the jewelry store came running in screaming, 'Stop him, stop him, he robbed my store,'" Lu said. "I didn't have time to think, because this guy was just about to pass me on the way to the front door again, so I grabbed his raincoat and held on.
"The owner of the store grabbed him and we forced him to sit down in a chair," Lu said. "I was holding him around the chest and finally put my legs around his knees to hold him. He was a big guy, and I really had to use all my strength and the help of the jewelry store owner to hold him."
Police said they have found no evidence that would connect McGrath's slaying Saturday with an incident Sunday night in which a Georgetown woman student who lived in the same dormitory as McGrath was accosted by a man who wielded a knife.
The student, who was not identified, was unharmed, police said. She told police she had finished her shower about 9:20 p.m. and opened the curtain when she saw the intruder standing before her with a hunting knife. After threatening several times to kill her, police said, the intruder fled the building.
According to police, Kebe had served two years in the federal prison in Tallahassee, Fla., on a charge of receiving stolen property. He was released in July, police said, and there-after returned to the District.
Several weeks ago, Kebe was hired by the Dart Drug Co. to work as a cashier in the store at 1901 Wisconsin Ave. NW, about three blocks from where the McGrath slaying occurred.
Police said Kebe was fired by the store's management two days later and was charged with larceny.