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Two indicted in fatal Loudoun attack

Washington Post Editors

A Loudoun County grand jury Monday indicted two men in an attack on a couple in the Lansdowne area last year, and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against one of them.

William and Cynthia Bennett were taking a pre-dawn walk along Riverside Parkway on March 22, 2009, when two men jumped out of a van and beat and stabbed them, authorities said. William Bennett, 57, was killed. Cynthia Bennett survived.

Darwin G. Bowman, 19, of Annandale was charged Monday with two counts of capital murder, with prosecutors offering two possible theories: that he killed William Bennett during the course of a robbery or that during the attack on the Bennetts, he committed murder and rape. Jaime Ayala, now 18, of Sterling, who told investigators that he was driving the van but did not attack the Bennetts, was charged with first-degree murder. Both men were charged with rape, aggravated malicious wounding and two counts of robbery.

A third man suspected in the attack, Anthony R. Roberts, 20, of Middleburg, was not charged Monday. He is serving seven years in prison for burglarizing a Leesburg gun store three weeks after the homicide.

Prosecutors may attempt to secure the cooperation of Bowman or Ayala before charging Roberts, whom Ayala accused of leading the attack, according to testimony at Ayala's preliminary hearing last year.

-- Tom Jackman

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 15, 2010; 8:07 AM ET
Categories:  From the Courthouse , Homicide , Loudoun , Tom Jackman , Updates  
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