Loudoun murder suspect pleads guilty to separate crime
The attack on the Bennetts, who were out for a walk last March in Loudoun County, remains one of the most chilling crimes in Northern Virginia this year.
On Tuesday, a Loudoun man authorities believe is the chief suspect in the attack, pleaded guilty to burglarizing a Leesburg gun store and was sentenced to seven years in prison.
Anthony R. Roberts, 20, has not been charged in the murder of William Bennett, 57, and the attack on Cynthia Bennett, 55, along Riverside Parkway in Lansdowne. But a teenager told police at a court hearing that he saw Roberts standing over both Bennetts, at different times along the parkway, and that Roberts and Darwin Bowman,18, of Annandale, then burned their bloody clothes after the March 22 incident.
Bowman has been charged with capital murder and has a preliminary hearing scheduled for next week. The teenager, Jaime Ayala, was charged with murder in juvenile court, but his case was dismissed for failure to prove that he was under 18. Loudoun prosecutors have not yet refiled that charge, but he was certified to stand trial as an adult in an unrelated gang fight days after the Bennett homicide and is scheduled to enter a guilty plea later this month, Loudoun court records show.
Roberts, of Middleburg, pleaded guilty in September to burglaries in Middleburg and was sentenced to 18 months. On Tuesday, he admitted breaking into the Loudoun Guns store on April 15, three weeks after the Bennett slaying, when he was arrested running from the store with five stolen guns in his backpack.
Loudoun Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney James P. Fisher declined to say Tuesday when or if he would seek murder charges against Ayala and Roberts.
-- Tom Jackman
Washington Post editors
December 2, 2009; 8:00 AM ET
Categories: Loudoun , Tom Jackman , Updates
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