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This Week in Arlington

<sh>Bono Video Case Dismissed

<bt>The Arlington County Human Rights Commission on June 8 reconsidered and dismissed the case of Vincenz v. Bono Film and Video Inc.

The commission had earlier found that Tim Bono, owner of Bono Film and Video Inc., discriminated against Lilli Vincenz last year when he refused to reproduce two gay-themed videos for Vincenz. Vincenz had filed a complaint with the commission which it investigated and acted upon in April, 2006 after holding a public hearing.

The Commission’s action means the case will not be referred to the County Attorney and the County Board and that no enforcement will be taken.

In taking its decision, the Human Rights Commission said that the Human Rights Ordinance protects individuals from discrimination based on sexual orientation, but does not prohibit discrimination based on the content of materials.

<sh>Death Row Defendant

<bt>Defense attorneys representing a defendant in a death penalty case devote 90 percent of their effort to preparing for the penalty phase of the trial, said Jonathan Shapiro during a hearing last Friday in Fairfax County Circuit Court.

Shapiro and Peter D. Greenspun represent Alfredo R. Prieto, a 40-year-old death row inmate from California who is charged with raping and killing Rachel Raver and killing her boyfriend Warren H. Fulton off Hunter Mill Road in Reston in December 1988. The crime remained unsolved for 17 years before DNA evidence linked Prieto to the murder of the two George Washington University students.

Shapiro requested to hire a mitigation specialist as well as an investigator to prepare for the upcoming trial.

"From the little we know, we have a sense there is going to be a trove of mitigating evidence," from the defendant’s upbringing in El Salvador, Shapiro said.

Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Raymond F. Morrogh, who will prosecute the case with Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr., didn’t object to Shapiro’s motion.

Judge Dennis J. Smith told both defense and prosecuting attorneys that he wants to set a trial date later this month.

Prieto was also indicted in Arlington County last December for the May 1988 murder of Veronica Lynn Jefferson, 24.

Fairfax and Arlington county police officers brought Prieto back to Fairfax from California’s San Quentin State Prison on April 28, 2006. Prieto, who is being held at Fairfax County Adult Detention Center, has been on death row in California since 1991, when he was convicted of raping and murdering a 15-year-old girl in San Bernardino County.

<1b>— Ken Moore

<sh>Transplant Fund-raiser

<bt>The Children’s Organ Transplant Association has announced that Northern Virginia resident Pam Miles, 40, who has been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, is the focus of a fund-raising campaign to help offset medical expenses that will be incurred so that Miles may undergo a double lung transplant, a press release from the transplant association read.

Volunteers in Arlington have set $200,000 as their fund-raising goal to be used to "assist with transplant-related and post-transplant care," according to the press release.

Tax-deductible donations can be made in person at any Wachovia Bank branch location by using account number 3000025425861 or by sending checks or money orders made payable to "COTA for Pam M." to the Children’s Organ Transplant Association, 2501 COTA Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403. Donations can also be made with a credit card at www.cota.org.

To volunteer to assist with fund-raising activities or for more information about the campaign to raise money for Pam Miles, contact campaign manager Heathere Evans-Keenan at 703-875-9172.