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Charge of auto theft is dropped Governor had commuted murder sentence.


An auto theft charge was dropped in Baltimore District Court against one of seven women whose murder sentences were commuted last February by Gov. William Donald Schaefer.

The governor had commuted those sentences after being persuaded that the women were battered by their mates.

The theft charge against Patricia Ann Washington, 34, who stabbed her husband to death in their Hyattsville apartment in 1988, was nolprossed yesterday by Assistant State's Attorney Kimberly Farrell, who declined to discuss the case.

In a brief statement before District Judge Kathleen M. Sweeney, Harold I. Glaser, Ms. Washington's lawyer, said that the prosecution "believed in her innocence."

Ms. Washington was arrested Jan. 15 in the 600 block of Gorsuch Ave., three blocks from Marian House, the northeast Baltimore halfway house where she now lives. She was a passenger in a 1987 Oldsmobile that was reported stolen on New Year's Day in Ohio.

In court yesterday, Ms. Washington appeared distraught, openly weeping and rocking in her seat, as she was comforted by Sister Augusta Reilly, director of Marian House.

Charges against the driver of the car, Georgette Ocatavia Braxton, 30, of the 3600 block of W. Franklin St., who also was arrested Jan. 15 and charged with theft over $300, were placed on the inactive docket. Ms. Farrell said she could not try the case because the owner of the car had not been summoned to court.

A Baltimore police officer stopped the Oldsmobile Jan. 15 after spotting it parked in "a secluded parking lot" near Memorial Stadium and then followed the car after it moved on, according to court records. A check of the license tag showed the car to be stolen.

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