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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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