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Rep. Frank's niece slain in Va.; husband is charged

ARLINGTON, Va. -- A man was charged with murder after he allegedly strangled his wife, the niece of US Representative Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat.

Susan Lewis, 41, was found Monday unconscious and with a neck wound at her home in Arlington, police said. She died later at a hospital.

Her husband, James W. Powell Jr., was treated for self-inflicted stab wounds and taken into custody at the hospital, a police spokesman told the Washington Post. Powell, 44, was being held without bail at an Arlington County jail.

Lewis was the daughter of former White House communications director Ann Lewis, who is Frank's sister.

The couple has a young son, who was with a baby sitter at the time of the slaying. The child is now with relatives.

Frank canceled scheduled appearances Tuesday and yesterday.

At a fund-raiser last night in New York, Senator John F. Kerry held a moment of silence for Lewis.

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