Phony Death Report Gets Criminal Off Hook, Briefly

FAIRFAX, Va. -- Criminal charges against a Virginia man presumed dead have been revived after his arrest for a separate crime revealed him to be very much alive.

Last year a judge dismissed attempted fraud charges against 38-year-old Rodney T. Newsome Sr. of Manassas after his lawyer submitted papers from Maryland purporting to show Newsome died after unsuccessful brain surgery.

But Newsome's reprieve was short-lived. He was arrested in February and charged with trying to open a bank account with a stolen check. A court clerk remembered Newsome's name and alerted prosecutors.

In a court appearance Wednesday in Fairfax, Newsome's new lawyer said her client was unaware of the bogus death report. The lawyer who submitted the death report, George Freeman, did not return a call seeking comment.