Murder Victim Feared for Her Safety — A friend of murder victim Bonnie Delgado Black said in court that she “was concerned if she would wake up in the morning” because of her estranged husband. A defense attorney for David Black, however, emphasized at trial that there’s a lack of physical evidence linking him to his wife’s murder. [Washington Post]
Rush Hour Offloading Peeves Riders — Metro riders were “furious” yesterday after a crowded train offloaded at the Rosslyn station during the morning rush hour due to a door problem. [Patch]
Pets Banned at Arlington Nat’l Cemetery — In addition to most bikes, the Army has also banned all pets at Arlington National Cemetery. Only service animals or working military dogs will be permitted onto the cemetery grounds. [Washington Post]
Bra Collection at Ballston Market — Ballston’s weekly farmers market will be Halloween-themed this afternoon. The market will also be collecting new and gently used bras, to be donated to those in need. [Twitter]
Westover Neighborhood Profiled — One of the main attractions of living in the Westover neighborhood is the collection of stores and restaurants at Westover Village, residents say. [Washington Post]
Woman Hit By SUV on Route 50 — A woman was struck and critically injured by an SUV while crossing Route 50 at Fillmore Street during Monday’s evening rush hour. The victim is expected to survive; lanes were closed while police investigated the crash. Nearby residents say the intersection is dangerous and accident-prone. [WUSA9, Twitter]
House Fire in Arlington View — There was an unusual house fire last night in the Arlington View neighborhood near Hoffman-Boston Elementary. A house’s gas meter caught fire, spreading flames into the home’s basement. The blaze was quickly extinguished, sparing the home from major damage. [Twitter, Twitter, Twitter]
Man Pleads Guilty in Hot Car Case — The man who accidentally left a friend’s two-year-old child in the backseat of a car, causing the toddler’s death, has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter. Daiquan Fields was sentenced to a net six months in jail, time he had already served since the April incident, and is now on supervised probation. [NBC Washington]
Bonnie Black Murder Case Begins — The estranged husband of slain south Arlington mom Bonnie Black is now on trial for her murder. The trial of David Black started with opening statements on Monday; this morning witnesses for the prosecution are expected to be called. [WJLA]
Crystal City Post Office Moving — The post office along Crystal Drive in Crystal City is moving a few blocks down the road. The existing post office will be closed Thursday and Friday and the new post office, at 2180 Crystal Drive, will open Monday, Oct. 31. [Patch]
High Praise for Ambar — New Clarendon restaurant Ambar, which opened this month in the former Boulevard Woodgrill space, may get an indirect boost from TripAdvisor rankings. Ambar’s original Capitol Hill location is listed as the top-ranked D.C. area restaurant on TripAdvisor. [Washingtonian]
Amputee Athlete Visits Students — “Ghanian athlete and activist Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah recently visited with Arlington students to share his message that physical disabilities should not stop individuals from achieving their destiny.” [InsideNova]
The ART bus driver who was involved in a seven-vehicle wreck along Columbia Pike in December has been found not guilty of reckless driving.
The verdict was reached today after a trial held before Arlington County General District Court Judge Richard McCue. Agere Sileshi, 27, was found not guilty of the original charge of reckless driving, but was found guilty of “improper driving.”
Sileshi faces a $250 fine but no jail time on the charge, which “embodies a finding by the Court that the ‘degree of culpability is slight,'” according her attorney, Alexandria attorney Joseph Blaszkow. Sileshi has been on medical leave since the incident, Blaszkow said.
According to court testimony, Sileshi was driving her bus through the parking lot of the Columbia Pike Plaza shopping center when a car suddenly turned in front of her. Sileshi struck the car and then drove her bus through a retaining wall and onto S. Dinwiddie Street, striking several additional vehicles.
Altogether, five passenger vehicle, a mixing truck and several bicycles were damaged in the crash. Three vehicle occupants and a pedestrian were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Former Gov. Robert McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were both convicted on multiple counts of corruption in federal court yesterday, a day many public officials and political observers called a sad day for the Commonwealth.
The governor was convicted on 11 of 13 counts, including three counts of honest-services wire fraud and six counts of obtaining property “under color of official right,” for gifts and loans received from businessman Jonnie Williams.
Maureen McDonnell was convicted on nine of a possible 13 counts, for many of the same crimes as her husband.
The attorneys for both McDonnells said each would appeal their convictions. U.S. District Judge James Spencer set a sentencing hearing for Jan. 6, at which the estranged couple could independently face up to 20 years in prison and fines of more than $250,000.
The McDonnells and their family reportedly were crying as count after guilty count were read, with Bob McDonnell at one point burying his head in his hands while his daughters “sobbed” behind him, the Post reported.
Current Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who campaigned on ethics reform last year after the Washington Post brought the McDonnells’ improprieties to light, released a statement in the immediate aftermath of the verdict.
“I am deeply saddened by the events of the trial that ended in today’s verdict, and the impact it has had on our Commonwealth’s reputation for honesty and clean government,” McAuliffe said in the statement. “Dorothy and I will continue to pray for the McDonnell family and for everyone who was affected by this trial.”
Attorney General Mark Herring, who also campaigned on ethics reform and issued a gifts ban for his office when he was inaugurated, said he hopes the General Assembly “will move much closer” to the gift bans he and McAuliffe instituted.
“We have a long way to go to restore the public’s trust after this embarrassing and difficult period for the Commonwealth of Virginia,” Herring said in a press release. “If there was somehow still any doubt, it should be crystal clear that the people of Virginia deserve real ethics reform that will turn off the spigot of gifts, tickets, and trips that opens the door to abuse and undermines public confidence in our government.”
Some local political figures took to social media to largely express their dismay. While some may have expected Democrats to hail the verdict as a victory, no local leaders, at least in the immediate aftermath, gave any hints of pleasure after the jury’s ruling.
A very sad day for Virginia.
— Patrick Hope (@HopeforVirginia) September 4, 2014
It's a difficult, sad day for Virginia. Let’s use this as motivation to restore our reputation, and to adopt meaningful ethics reform.
— Rip Sullivan (@RipSullivan48) September 4, 2014
What a sad day f Virginia. The tradition of magnanimous public service has certainly been tarnished.
— Barbara Favola (@BarbaraFavola) September 4, 2014
It's clear what the McDonnell's did was *wrong*, but that is different from illegal. Not sure how to advise people on gifts anymore.
— Ben Tribbett (@notlarrysabato) September 4, 2014
Photo courtesy U.S. Navy
Flood Watch for D.C. Area — Arlington and the D.C. area is under a flood watch from noon today through later tonight. Another round of showers and thunderstorm with areas of heavy rain is expected today. [National Weather Service]
Bishop Attends School’s Last Mass — Arlington Bishop Paul Loverde attended the final school mass at St. Charles Borromeo Church last week. He “spoke to the palpable presence of both sadness and hope.” The school is closing due to low enrollment. The church’s pastor, meanwhile, is being transferred to another church against his will. [Arlington Catholic Herald]
Micah Edmond Profiled — Micah Edmond, the Republican candidate for congress who will be facing off against Democrat Don Beyer in November, says there is a “realistic way” for him to win the race. Edmond, who is African-American, Jewish, a small business owner and a Marine Corps veteran, says he’ll be “reaching out to communities that are often ignored and listening to their cares and concerns and offering solutions.” [InsideNova*]
Arlington Resident Faces Another Murder Trial — Christopher Deedy, a State Department Special Agent from Arlington who’s accused of murder in the 2011 shooting death of a man in Hawaii, is about to face trial again. Deedy’s trial last year ended in a mistrial. [Associated Press]
Discover Cherrydale Photos — Cherrydale residents came out for an inaugural community event called Discover Cherrydale. Photos have been posted from the event, which was held May 31. [Comcast.net]
* Editor’s Note: This website employs popup ads and, during our visit today, autoplay video ads with audio turned on by default and no option for turning it off. For a better user experience, we have linked to a site that displays the article as plain text.
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Torrez Murder Trial Begins — The murder trial of Jorge Torrez, the ex-Marine accused of killing Navy petty officer Amanda Jean Snell on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, has gotten underway. Torrez is already serving multiple life sentences after being convicted in Arlington of rape and numerous other charges. [Washington Post]
Anti-Streetcar Group Blasts County Study — The group Arlingtonians for Sensible Transit has released a list of the “top 15 reasons” a county-funded study on the costs and benefits of a streetcar system is “another waste of taxpayers’ money.” AST says the study is biased and lacking in original research. [Arlingtonians for Sensible Transit]
Arlington Named One of the Worst Rental Investments — Those who invest in rental properties in Arlington only receive a 5 percent return on their investment, making it No. 11 on the list of worst markets for returns for landlords. That’s according to a list compiled by the firm RealtyTrac. [Washington Business Journal]
Authors to Speak at Central Library — Acclaimed authors Ann Beattie and Richard Ford will speak at Arlington Central Library this month as part of the annual Arlington Reads initiative. The Arlington Reads theme this year is “Dazed and Confused: Two Great Writers on Boomer Angst.” Beattie will speak at Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) on April 10 and Ford will speak on April 24. [Arlington County]
Civic Federation Calls for Tax Cut — The Arlington County Civic Federation voted yesterday to recommend a 3-cent or more cut in the county’s property tax rate. The rate currently stands at $1.006 per $100 in assessed value. One civic federation delegate said the group’s vote sends a message to county government: “Rein it in a little bit.” [InsideNoVa]
Arlington Photos Highlighted as Example of Why Microsoft CEO is Retiring — Microsoft’s CEO, Steve Ballmer, announced in August that he will be stepping down within a year and two photos taken at the Pentagon City mall are being touted as an example of why. The first photo shows an empty Microsoft Store at the mall this past Sunday (December 8) during prime holiday shopping season. The next photo shows a packed Apple Store at the same mall. [Slate]
Parents Claim Incompatible Programs at Drew Model School — Parents who have students at Drew Model School (3500 23rd Street S.) told the County Board last week that the school’s dual focus — a traditional elementary school program and a separate Montessori program — are becoming incompatible. The parents say having the two different programs operate under the same roof stresses both. [Sun Gazette]
Opening Statements in Arlington Sheriff’s Deputy Murder Trial — The murder trial for Arlington County Sheriff’s Deputy Craig Patterson began on Monday with opening statements from attorneys on both sides. Patterson is accused of shooting and killing Julian Dawkins during a confrontation in May. [Alexandria Times]
Google Doodle Commemorates Former Arlington Resident — Monday’s Google Doodle commemorated Grace Hopper’s 107th birthday. Hopper, who used to live in Pentagon City, was a pioneering computer scientist and United States Navy rear admiral. According to Wikipedia, “Grace Murray Hopper Park, located on South Joyce Street in Arlington, Virginia, is a small memorial park in front of her former residence (River House Apartments) and is now owned by Arlington County, Virginia.” [Google]
Air Force Officer Found Not Guilty — Lt. Col. Jeff Krusinski, accused of groping a woman on a Crystal City sidewalk earlier this year, has been found not guilty by an Arlington County jury. Krusinski was the chief of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response branch of the U.S. Air Force, and his arrest sparked a national conversation about sexual assault in the military. The charge against Krusinski was eventually changed to assault and battery, and Thursday afternoon, after a two-day trial, the jury found that prosecutors “did not present evidence to meet the threshold of reasonable doubt.” [NBC Washington, Washington Post]
Arlington Employees Playing Games on the Job? — An “ABC7 Watchdog investigation” found that employees of several Northern Virginia counties, including Arlington, are doing quite a bit of web browsing and gaming on the job. Arlington employees registered 13,106 hits on gaming sites — including 3,813 for the game Candy Crush and 2,593 for Words With Friends — on a single day in August. Arlington employees also visited YouTube about 3,800 times that day. [WJLA]
Wardian to Run Two Marathons in One Day — Prolific local marathon runner Michael Wardian is aiming to run two marathons in two different states in one day this weekend. Wardian plans on running the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio marathon Sunday morning and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon Sunday afternoon. What’s more, his goal is to run each in less than 2 hours and 30 minutes. [Competitor]
Fees May Climb for DCA Taxi Pickups — It may cost a bit more to take a taxi from Reagan National Airport next year. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is considering a plan to raise the fees collected from taxi drivers that pick up passengers from DCA. The fee hike would raise about $1 million. If approved, the new rates could be in place by next summer. [Washington Post]
Photo courtesy Melissa Shoemaker
Victim, Witnesses Testify During Krusinski Trial — The 23-year-old woman accusing the Air Force’s former sexual assault prevention chief of groping her in May testified about the incident yesterday during the first day of Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski’s assault and battery trial. The woman broke down in tears while describing how Krusinski allegedly grabbed her buttocks after he spent the night drinking in Crystal City. Witnesses reported the woman repeatedly punched Krusinski following the alleged groping. One of the witnesses who testified — a transgender woman who goes by Jordain — also reported being groped and propositioned by Krusinski that night. Jordain said Krusinski appeared to be a “happy drunk” and she brushed him off. The trial is expected to last three days. [Stars and Stripes, Military Times]
County Prepares for Winter — No snowflakes have fallen yet, but Arlington County has already launched preparations for the 2013-2014 winter season. The snow removal team includes 92 drivers and 46 trucks that are equipped with plows and salt spreaders. Residents will be able to track the progress of road clearing online, including the ability to check traffic cameras at certain intersections. Residents are asked to clear snow from sidewalks within 24 hours of a storm, per the county’s Snow Removal Ordinance. [Arlington County]
1K Wine and Beer Walk on Sunday — The Washington Wine Academy is hosting its semi-annual 1K Wine and Beer Walk in Crystal City on Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 16-17). Start times will be staggered from 1:00-5:00 p.m. and participants get to sample 22 different types of wine or beer while strolling through the Shops at Crystal City. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased online. [Washington Wine Academy]
Veterans Day Ceremony in Clarendon — Members of local American Legion posts gathered at the Clarendon War Memorial on Monday to dedicate a temporary plaque bearing the name of six fallen servicemembers who hailed from Arlington. [Patch]
Fewer Trains Makes for Crowded Commute — Metro commuters who had to work on Veterans Days experienced delays and crowding due to Metro running on a reduced holiday service schedule. [Washington Post]
Parents Keep Pushing for FLES — Parents whose children are in elementary schools that don’t yet have the Foreign Language in Elementary School program are keeping up the pressure on school and county officials. “Despite paying the same tax rate… we are not receiving the same education,” said one Taylor Elementary parent. FLES provides elementary students with just over two hours of Spanish language education a week. [Sun Gazette]
Solar Lab at Va. Tech Ballston Building — In addition to helping to lower energy costs for the building, a solar panel array on the top of the Virginia Tech Research Center in Ballston is serving as a laboratory for graduate students. [Virginia Tech]
Krusinski Case Goes to Trial — The case against Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, the former chief of the U.S. Air Force Sexual Assault Prevention and Response branch who was accused of grabbing the breasts and buttocks of a woman in Crystal City, goes to trial today. A jury is expected to start hearing arguments in the case this morning.
Photo courtesy Peter Golkin
The first degree murder case against Arlington County Sheriff’s Deputy Craig Patterson from a fatal shooting in Alexandria in May was sent to a grand jury on Tuesday afternoon.
Patterson, 44, is accused of shooting and killing 22-year-old Julian Dawkins, an Alexandria resident. Patterson and his attorneys claim Dawkins attacked him with a knife, and he fired on Dawkins in self-defense. After hearing more than two hours of witness testimony, Alexandria General District Court Judge Becky J. Moore ruled there was probable cause to move forward and sent the case to a grand jury.
Alexandria Police Officer Judy Taylor, a crime scene investigator, testified that Dawkins, who drove a shuttle for PBS NewsHour in Shirlington, had a knife clipped to the outer portion of his jeans pocket, but it was folded up.
Alexandria Commonwealth’s Attorney Randy Sengel played in the courtroom the 911 call Patterson made after the shooting. It was the first time many, including Dawkins’ parents, had heard the call.
“I was just involved in a shooting,” Patterson said on the call, made at 12:45 a.m. on May 23. “I just had a young man pull a knife on me and I shot him.”
Dawkins suffered one bullet wound to the upper chest, investigators said. Witnesses testifying gave conflicting reports of the incident. Reginald White, who lives a few doors down from the scene of the incident on Lynhaven Drive, said he saw Patterson leave an argument with Dawkins, then return with a pistol holstered to his hip. Three minutes later, White said, he heard a gunshot.
Willie Sydnor, who lives a few houses down the street from where the shooting occurred, said he saw Dawkins chase Patterson after the initial incident.
Dawkins said “this is my block,” Sydnor testified. “Then I saw Julian jump at [Patterson] and say ‘don’t come back around here.'”
Officer David Chamnaiphol was the first to the scene, and he said he immediately placed Patterson in handcuffs and took away his gun, badge, handcuffs, cell phone and wallet. The Officer of the Medical Examiner reported that Dawkins had a blood alcohol content of 0.15.
The courtroom was filled to the point where members of the community were standing along the back wall to fit inside. Many of Dawkins’ peers were wearing commemorative T-shirts that said “R.I.P. Juju.” Dawkins’ parents took questions outside of the Alexandria courthouse once the decision came down, giving their reaction to hearing the 911 call for the first time.
“After hearing that call, I truly feel that it was premeditated,” Gwen Prattmiller, Dawkins’ mother, said.
“He had no remorse,” said Curtis Dawkins, Julian Dawkins’ father. “Right now we’re thankful that a decision was made and it was the proper decision.”
Photo via Alexandria Police Department