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Landover man found slain wanted fresh start after prison term

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Since he got out of prison in 2010, Morgan D. Monroe Jr. had twice stood before his Bowie church and told of how he and others kidnapped a man, robbed him and left him to die with a bullet in his chest on a rural Maryland road in 1984, his mother said.

Monroe had wanted forgiveness and a fresh start, his mother said, but that chance was cut short when he became the victim of the type of crime he committed: Police identified him Friday as the man shot behind the wheel of a car in the Mount Vernon area of Fairfax County earlier in the week.

“He was so happy to be home with the family,” said Carol Ann Monroe, Morgan’s mother. “He said nothing could ever put him back in there again.”

Officers found the 47-year-old Landover resident with gunshot wounds in his black Honda Accord about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, police said. Police were called to the scene at the Sequoyah condominium complex because someone had complained about the engine of Monroe’s car revving loudly, police said.

Monroe was parked near San Leandro and Mendocina places, police said. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police called the case a “real mystery” on Thursday, and on Friday they said they still had few clues. A police spokesman declined to talk about whether detectives were pursuing leads related to Monroe’s criminal past. Witnesses have not been able to provide much information.

“Detectives are following some leads,” said Officer Bud Walker, a police spokesman. “At this point, we are hoping those pan out. Otherwise, we may have to ask the public for help.”

Carol Ann Monroe said her son knew people in Virginia, but she did not know why he was at the Sequoyah complex. She said he had talked with one of his friends earlier in the evening.

Her son did not appear to be in any trouble and was studying to get his commercial driver’s license in the hopes of getting full-time work, Carol Ann Monroe said. She said he had gotten out of prison in September 2010 after serving 26 years. Morgan Monroe was living at his parents’ Landover home.

In February 1984, Monroe and four other teenagers abducted Clay William Griffin from his Riverdale apartment complex, drove his car to a rural part of Mitchellville, and robbed and shot him, according to Washington Post articles at the time. The articles did not make clear which teen prosecutors had said was the shooter. The bullet just missed Griffin’s heart, and he survived.

Monroe pleaded guilty to attempted murder, kidnapping and other crimes later that year and went to prison.

Carol Ann Monroe asked for witnesses to come forward in her son’s case. “We just can’t get over his death,” she said. “We just can’t get the answers. Somebody knows something.”

Staff researcher Jennifer Jenkins contributed to this report.

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