Mother of 4 pleads guilty to assault

A Southeast Washington woman who police say tried to kill her four children last year by driving them into the Anacostia River pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of assault with intent to kill.

Nicole Johnson, 34, entered the plea before Judge William M. Jackson. The plea agreement calls for a sentence of 36 months, should the judge approve the deal.

Prosecutors said Johnson piled her four children — ages 16, 14, 11 and 8 — into her Chevrolet Suburban one July evening and drove to the Anacostia River.

Johnson, according to court documents, then parked at the water’s edge and told her children that “no one wanted them” and that “they should all drown together.” She ordered one of them to call her father to say goodbye.

But the 16-year-old jumped out and urged his siblings to do the same. Johnson hit the accelerator and tried to run over the children as they sought shelter behind trees. A witness alerted a nearby U.S. Park Police officer, and Johnson was arrested and admitted to St. Elizabeths, the District’s psychiatric hospital.

A hearing is scheduled for Sept. 11, when Johnson is scheduled to be sentenced if her plea is accepted.

— Keith L. Alexander

Jury convicts man of '06 slaying in retrial

A Forestville man was convicted Thursday for a second time in the November 2006 slaying of his child’s mother amid a dispute over child support, prosecutors said.

Fabian Shim, 47, was convicted of first-degree murder in the slaying of 26-year-old Reina Lynch, the mother of his then-7-year-old daughter, authorities said. Prince George’s County Deputy State’s Attorney Ann Wagner-Stewart said Shim shot Lynch in the head with a shotgun and left her for dead in a Beltsville FedEx facility, where she worked the overnight shift. Less than two weeks earlier, Wagner-Stewart said, Shim and Lynch had gone to a child-support mediation session, where Shim was told that he would have to pay $590 a month.

Shim had been convicted in 2007 but had to be retried because of a mistake made during jury selection, authorities said.

Marlyn Evans, Lynch’s mother, said she was “so relieved” that new jurors convicted him again.

“It was so heartbreaking to have to go through another trial,” she said.

Evans said she hopes her daughter is remembered as a “kind, loving” individual.

Shim is scheduled to be sentenced June 25 and could face life in prison without the possibility of parole, authorities said.

— Matt Zapotosky

Student is Tasered during confrontation

A Montgomery Blair High School student allegedly punched a school resource officer Thursday morning, prompting the officer to use a Taser that left a dart in the student’s skin and sent her to the hospital, police said.

The 16-year-old freshman was sitting on the ground outside the Silver Spring school when the school resource officer told her to go back to class about 11:30 a.m., said Montgomery County police Capt. Paul Starks. He said that the student punched the officer and that the officer then Tasered the student.

Neither the officer nor the student had injuries that required treatment by emergency responders, but a Taser dart was left in the student’s skin, which neither police nor rescue officials are authorized to remove, Starks said. The student was taken to the hospital.

The girl was taken into custody but no charges have been filed, police said. Authorities did not identify the officer.

— Suzy Khimm

O’Malley names new chief of staff

Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) on Thursday named John R. Griffin, a veteran of state government, as his next chief of staff.

Griffin, 66, will replace longtime aide Matthew D. Gallagher, 40, who is leaving the governor’s office in June to lead a philanthropic foundation in Baltimore.

Upon his arrival in Annapolis in 2007, O’Malley tapped Griffin as secretary of the Department of Natural Resources, a Cabinet-level position he also held in the late 1990s under the state’s last Democratic governor, Parris N. Glendening. All told, Griffin has served in state government for more than 25 years.

— John Wagner