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Self-Defense Asserted in Slaying of 3; Montgomery Suspect to Get Medical Exam

A federal worker charged with fatally shooting three friends at a party in Rockville sought a medical examination yesterday to bolster his claim that he shot the men in self-defense after they attacked him.

A Montgomery County judge ordered that a doctor examine Paul S. Rajnic, 27, at the county jail to determine the extent of any injuries he suffered before the shooting on Saturday.

However, District Court Judge Cornelius J. Vaughey denied bail to Rajnic, who is charged with three counts of first-degree murder.

A review of court records, meanwhile, showed that Rajnic has had repeated problems with the law, most of them involving relatives. Almost all of the previous charges against him were dismissed.

Police said Rajnic, a secretary in the personnel office of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, shot and killed three men at a holiday gathering at his girlfriend’s house in Rockville about 1:40 a.m. Saturday.

Rajnic, the three men who were shot, Rajnic’s girlfriend, Ceceilia Boswell, and her sister, Margaret Boswell, had been drinking heavily throughout the evening and “were intoxicated,” according to police documents.

Police said Margaret Boswell asked the three men to help her sister after she heard Rajnic hitting her sister in the bathroom. A fight erupted in the bathroom among the four men and then moved into a bedroom, where Rajnic shot two of the men with a .38-caliber revolver before he fatally wounded a third man with a 12-gauge shotgun, police said.

The two men shot with the revolver were Stephen P. Smith, 19, of Rockville, and Bryan D. Doty, 24, of Gaithersburg. Douglas R. Bostic, 23, of Gaithersburg, received a shotgun wound, police said.

Rockville lawyer Barry Helfand, who represents Rajnic, said his client acted in self-defense after the three men attacked him in the bathroom.

“There was a fight and a struggle,” Helfand said. He said Rajnic suffered injuries to his face, including a cut lip and a bruise on his forehead that formed “a one-inch circle.”

Helfand said he believed the shotgun found in the bedroom belonged to Rajnic, who lived with his parents but spent most of his time at his girlfriend’s house. According to police documents, Margaret Boswell told police that her sister kept a revolver in her nightstand. A Maryland State Police official said yesterday that Rajnic had registered a 9mm Beretta handgun with state authorities in June.

According to court records, Rajnic’s former wife filed a complaint charging him with battery in connection with an Oct. 27 incident at her Derwood home. The former wife said in her complaint that Rajnic “smacked me across the face and knocked my glasses off. He then got in a karate position and kicked me in the stomach.”

However, on Sunday, one day after Rajnic was charged with murder, his former wife filed a motion to dismiss the battery complaint, stating that the “issue has been resolved between both parties.” She wrote that she “had hit {Rajnic} first.”

According to court records, Rajnic was charged with assault in a 1991 incident stemming from a domestic dispute at his parents’ home in Potomac. Court documents say Rajnic was “extremely intoxicated” and assaulted a police officer who had been called to the house. The assault charge was later dismissed.

Court records show that two other charges against Rajnic were dismissed: an October 1991 drug possession charge and a 1987 theft charge. He pleaded guilty to negligent driving in 1987.

Client Reviews
"I have watched Mr. Helfand in trial and in negotiations. He is remarkable. Mr. Helfand is extremely knowledgeable in the law, and even more knowledgeable in the ways to deal with people." Afshin Pishevar, Criminal Defense Attorney in Rockville, MD
"I strongly endorse this lawyer. I have known Mr. Helfand for many years. We have worked together on cases and represented conflicting parties. I have watched Mr. Helfand in trial and in negotiations. He is remarkable." David Felsen, Criminal Defense Attorney in Rockville, MD
"It’s one of the biggest cases that’s been tried in Montgomery County in a long time,” said Steve VanGrack, a Rockville lawyer considering a Democratic bid for state’s attorney." Washington Post