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Posted at 1:00 PM ET, 11/16/2010

Murder charge in domestic case

By Matt Zapotosky
Matt Zapotosky

A man thought to have attacked and killed another man in an apparent case of domestic violence was charged with first-degree murder over the weekend, according to authorities and law enforcement sources.

Joseph L. Wills, 19, of District Heights, was arrested Saturday in the slaying of John Leonard Lawhorn Jr., 42, of Clinton, authorities said. Lawhorn's body was found Nov. 4 in a vacant residence in the 7400 block of Marlboro Pike, authorities had said.

Law enforcement sources said Wills and Lawhorn were romantically involved, and the case was apparently one of domestic violence. Lawhorn, sources said, was beaten to death by Wills -- who was not openly gay. Police characterized the incident as "domestic related" in a news release, but a spokesman could offer no details about the nature of the men's relationship.

By Matt Zapotosky  | November 16, 2010; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Homicide, Matt Zapotosky, Pr. George's  
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Next: Levy's death 'ghastly': U.S. Attorney


If this was domestic violence turned into a homicide, I am surprised the charge is not second degree murder. They must have really strong evidence of premeditation, because usually, the type of heat of passion behavior associated with domestic violence results in second degree murder.

Posted by: darrren12000 | November 16, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Darren, there are some cases when even unplanned murders may warrant 1st degree charges say for instance if the killing is dreadful enough like in cases of extreme torture.

Posted by: Elmo500 | November 17, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

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