Judge upholds no-bail ruling for man accused of killing wife

Bon Haven resident called danger to himself, others

March 07, 2001|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

An Anne Arundel County Circuit Court judge refused to set bail yesterday for Stephen Washko of Bon Haven, who is accused of bludgeoning his wife to death with a hammer and then trying to kill himself.

Judge Joseph P. Manck said he agreed with the District Court judge who denied bail that Washko, a 44-year-old industrial chemist at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, is a danger to others and to himself. He said he might reconsider, depending on what psychiatric tests reveal.

Washko is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife, Linda, 43, whose body was found Jan. 30. Police say she was killed in their home west of Annapolis and that Washko then tried to kill himself.

He also is charged in Prince George's County with assaulting police who tried to prevent him from jumping into rush-hour traffic on U.S. 301 near Bowie.

Washko's lawyer, James N. Papirmeister, unsuccessfully sought to have bail set at $250,000 and electronic monitoring for his client. Assistant State's Attorney Frank Ragione argued that Washko was mentally unstable.

Outside the courtroom, Papirmeister said his client was "very gentle, very loyal" and had no drug or alcohol problems. He said Washko's mental health will be evaluated and that he was "not prepared to reveal at this time" whether Washko was under psychiatric care at the time of his wife's death.

Linda Washko had worked at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Her relatives found her body in the foyer of the couple's home, on Sonne Drive, after they were unable to reach her by telephone, police said.

Washko was injured shortly before 9 a.m. Jan. 30 when he drove his Acura sedan into the path of a southbound tractor-trailer on U.S. 301.

He then jumped into the path of a dump truck, but that driver avoided striking him, Prince George's County police said.

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