Gaithersburg man indicted in murder

Claude Allen, who police say killed an acquaintance with a hatchet in May, was formally indicted on a first-degree murder charge by a grand jury Thursday. A trial date has not been set.

Montgomery County police arrested Allen, 20, at his home in Gaithersburg on May 24. According to court records, Allen told police he had killed an intruder. Police found the body of Michael Phillip Harvey, 25, in the woods outside Allen’s family’s house, according to the charging documents.

Allen is the son of Claude Allen II, a former domestic policy adviser to President George W. Bush who was charged in 2006 with defrauding local stores of $5,000 through phony refunds.

After his arrest, the younger Allen told investigators that Harvey had attacked him with the hatchet, and that he wrestled it from Harvey and used it against him, arresting documents said. But police ultimately learned that the two had been arguing over drug sales, according to the documents.

His attorney, Steven Kupferberg, said Allen will plead not guilty.

— St. John Barned-Smith

Police say teen shot would-be robber

A 17-year-old allegedly opened fire on five people who were trying to rob him in the Mantua area of Fairfax County on Wednesday night and wounded one of them, police said.

Officers responded to a report of gunshots in the 9300 block of Tovito Drive about 9 p.m. Wednesday, police said. An investigation revealed that four people had approached a 17-year-old acquaintance before the shooting and demanded his cellphone, police said. A fifth member of the group remained in a vehicle.

The teen complied and was not injured, police said.

The group approached another 17-year-old, and an altercation ensued. During the fight, the teen pulled out a gun and fired several shots, police said. The five fled.

An 18-year-old went to Inova Fairfax Hospital with injuries that were not believed to be life-threatening, police said.

The 17-year-old was charged with malicious wounding and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, police said.

They said no charges have been filed against the alleged robbers.

— Justin Jouvenal

Fairfax County relaxes day-care regulations

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has increased the maximum number of children allowed in a home child-care center from 10 to 12 and lowered the fee for a special permit from $1,100 to $435.

The board made the change Tuesday to conform to a state regulation passed last year that required day-care providers to comply with county zoning rules. The state, which licenses the providers, allows up to 12 children. But in Fairfax, the limit was seven children in a single-family home, or 10 with a special permit or exception. Fairfax did not enforce the rule rigorously, however, and many providers were handling up to 12 children in a day-care starved county.

Fairfax officials said there were 437 state-licensed providers in the county, and 362 already had licenses for 11 or 12 children. But many will now have to get a special permit or special exception from the county to legally care for up to a dozen children. A special exception will still cost $1,100.

The Fairfax board approved a grace period, to March 31 of next year, for applying for a permit or exception from the county. Workshops will be held around the county to help day-care providers navigate the permit process.

Providers may still care for up to seven children in a single- family home, or five in a townhouse or apartment, without zoning approval in Fairfax.

— Tom Jackman