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Week In Arlington

Back-to-Back Capital Murder Trials

The 2008 calendar of California death row inmate Alfredo R. Prieto has rapidly filled up in Northern Virginia.

Prieto, already on death row in California for the murder and rape of a 15-year-old girl, is scheduled to face a capital murder charge in Arlington in April 2008. Prieto is already scheduled for a two-month capital murder trial in Fairfax County in January 2008.

Prieto, 41, is accused of murdering Veronica "Tina" Jefferson, 24, in Arlington in May 1988. He is also accused of raping and murdering Rachael A. Raver and murdering her boyfriend Warren H. Fulton III, both 22, off Hunter Mill Road in Reston in December 1988. Fulton was from Vienna and Raver was from Alexandria.

DNA evidence taken from Prieto when he was on death row in California linked him to both 1988 crime scenes.

Arlington County Circuit Court Judge William T. Newman Jr. ruled Monday that Prieto’s constitutional rights to a speedy trial were not violated in the Arlington case as Fairfax prosecuted him in the Reston case.

The prosecution of two separate capital murder cases in two locations has been "cumbersome," said Theo Stamos, Arlington Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney during Monday’s status conference. "Somebody had to go first. We couldn’t bounce back and forth."

Last June, a Fairfax jury had convicted Prieto of two counts of capital murder and rape, but Circuit Court Judge Dennis J. Smith declared a mistrial six weeks into the case when one juror recanted, telling the judge that he didn’t believe the prosecution had proved Prieto was guilty of murder.

Fairfax prosecutors planned to present information about Arlington’s case during the sentencing portion of Prieto's trial to try to convince the jury to sentence Prieto to death.

— Ken Moore

Taxpayers Urged To Avoid Office

Arlington County Treasurer Frank O’Leary (D) is urging taxpayers who have yet to file their personal property taxes to avoid coming to his Courthouse Plaza office to do so in the coming days and instead pay at other locations around the county.

The deadline for personal property tax payments is Oct. 5 and, as in years past, the Treasurer’s office is expecting large crowds and long lines in the preceding days. O’Leary is estimating that as many as 10,000 taxpayers could be coming to the Treasurer’s office in the last three days before the deadline.

"Physically coming here ties them up and ties us up," O’Leary said.

Because of this, the Treasurer is encouraging taxpayers to use the Neighborhood Payment Program this year. The program allows Arlington residents to pay their taxes at a variety of locations throughout the county.

Payment locations include most full-service bank branches in Arlington along with most 7-Eleven stores in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. All payment locations will accept cash payments while the banks also accept checks. Debit cards are accepted at the 7-Eleven payment kiosks.

Arlington citizens may also pay online at www.arlingtonva.us/treas (click on "Pay On-Line"), by telephone at 1-888-2 Pay Tax (1-888-272-9829) and by mail. Payments must be made or postmarked by October 5.

— David Schultz

Correction

In the "Week in Arlington," from the Sept. 26 issue of the Arlington Connection, incorrectly identified named a site where a sexual assault allegedly took place on Sept. 14. Police are reporting that the assault occurred somewhere on the 3100 block of Clarendon Boulevard but are not disclosing the name of the bar at which it occurred.