D.C. in brief

Jury begins deliberations in sniper trial

Jurors deliberated for four hours Friday over the fate of suspected sniper John Allen Muhammad, who could get the death penalty for shootings that struck the D.C. area last year. The jury, which has given no indication when it will reach a decision, resumes Monday.

The jury’s extended deliberations are attributed to a 16-day hearing that included 500 pieces of evidence and 150 witness testimonies, according to The Washington Post.

Prince William County Judge LeRoy Millette Jr. presided over the case, which involved one of 16 shootings that Muhammad is suspected of committing during a two-month period in fall 2002.

Muhammad faces two counts of capital murder for the killing of Dean H. Myers at the Prince William Gas Station on Oct. 9, 2002. He will get the death penalty or life in prison if found guilty.

Ads will run on Metro

Advertisements will run on the side of Metrorail trains and buses starting this spring.

Plans for advertising on the Metro are already in the works, with 100 trains and 20 buses slated to receive ads, The Washington Post reported.

Advertisements will also be placed inside stations and parking garages. Video monitors may be placed in some of the busier stations to run commercials, The Post reported.

Cash-strapped Metro officials are facing a $48 million budget deficit next year, and the ads could bring in an additional $15 million per year, according to The Post. The Metro Board currently makes $23.2 million annually.

Smoking ban hurts local establishments

Montgomery County bars and restaurants are struggling to stay afloat after a smoking ban was implemented last month.

Melvin Thompson, vice president of the Restaurant Association of Maryland, said sales in smaller establishments, on average, have seen a decrease of 30 percent on weekdays and 50 percent on weekends, The Washington Post reported.

One restaurant, Uncle Jed’s Roadhouse, has seen a dramatic decrease in sales, forcing owner Allen Emery to lay off a chef and a manager.

“We’re getting crushed,” he told The Post.

According to The Post, many other small businesses fear that the ban has been so crippling that they may not make it until the end of the year.

-Bryn Flager

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