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Loudoun Prosecutor Considers Seeking Death Penalty in Walker's Slaying

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By Jonathan Mummolo
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Loudoun County's chief prosecutor said yesterday that his office might seek the death penalty for a man charged in last month's slaying of William Bennett, who was attacked along with his wife last month in Lansdowne.

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Over the weekend, authorities announced that they had charged two people -- Darwin G. Bowman, 18, of Annandale and a 17-year-old male from Sterling -- in Bennett's killing.

Two others are being investigated in the beating, authorities said: Anthony R. Roberts, 20, of Middleburg is in custody on charges of burglarizing a gun store April 15, and an unidentified 18-year-old male is being held on unrelated charges.

Bennett, 57, a retired Army officer, was out walking with his wife, Cynthia, director of procurement for the architect of the Capitol, about 5:30 a.m. March 22. Cynthia Bennett, 55, was critically injured and is slowly recovering, authorities said.

The suspects "were going by in the van, they saw these two and basically jumped them," a source familiar with the investigation said.

The 17-year-old, who has not been named because he is a juvenile, was arraigned Friday. He has a prior juvenile conviction for gang participation, the source said.

Authorities believe that the suspects are members of a gang or associated with one but said the attack was a random "robbery gone bad," not a gang ritual or initiation. Loudoun Commonwealth's Attorney James E. Plowman declined to name the gang, saying he did not wish to give it notoriety.

He said it was unusual for non-gang members to be attacked by gangs.

"The typical event we see is basically them going after each other," Plowman said.

Bowman, who is charged with capital murder, was in Loudoun County General District Court yesterday morning via video for his arraignment.

Judge Dean S. Worcester extended the hearing until today to give Bowman's family time to get a lawyer for him.

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