Virginia Activist’s Killer Held Without Bond

Virginia Activist’s Killer Held Without Bond

The only suspect in Lenny Harris' death awaits his hearing

by Team Ebony, February 2, 2012

Virginia Activist’s Killer Held Without Bond

Lenwood “Lenny” Harris was not only a resident of Del Ray, a historically Black neighborhood in northern Virginia, he was a champion for it. A regular at town hall meetings and city centers, Harris — the co-founder of non-profit group Operation Hope — was known in his community for being a key leader who spoke out against the impending gentrification and racism in the town that neighbors Alexandria, Va. He also ran for city council in 2007; he wasn't elected, but never stopped serving his community. Harris suddenly went missing five months ago and was found dead last week at the bottom of a well in Fort Washington. After visiting a friend on Sept. 21, Harris was supposed to come home to his wife but never arrived. The autopsy report found that he was shot and dumped in the basin; police found his cellphone on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and his bankcard had been used at a local ATM.

Linwood Johnson, the only suspect in custody, reportedly wrote and verbally confessed to the crime and detectives recovered the gun allegedly used to shoot Harris. The ex-con was previously in jail for eight years for an attempted robbery with a deadly weapon; he will remain in jail for this case until his Feb. 28 hearing. Detectives are looking for other accomplices they believe were involved in the killing.

Does our flawed ex-convict rehabilitation system share any blame for this case? With a history of crime, should Johnson be prosecuted harsher?

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