District of Columbia police and FBI agents yesterday arrested Robert Earl Lyons, the man they had previously charged in a warrant with shooting and wounding a federal prosecutor who was heading an investigation into an alleged heroin-smuggling ring here.
Lyons, 28, was apprehended at about 1:30 a.m. when police and FBI agents broke down the door of an apartment occupied by a friend of Lyons at 1711 Capitol Ave. NE. Lyons was arraigned before a U.S. magistrate yesterday afternoon formally charged with conspiracy to murder a federal officer, and held on $100,000 bond.
Lyons is accused of shooting Assistant Attorney to work at the District courthouse here last Dec. 20. Leibowitz was shot once in the side by a gunman who fled in a car. Leibowitz was treated for a flesh wound and released from a hospital the next day.
At the time of the shooting Leibowitz was leading the investigation of what authorities allege is the argest heroin-smuggling ring ever discovered here. Last week the alleged leader of the drug organization, Linwood Gray, and nine others were arrested and charged with conspiracy to violate narcotics laws.
Earl J. Silbert, the U.S. attorney, has said the government investigated the shooting on the assumpiton the alleged Gray ring hired a man to kill Leibowitz.
Gray's attorney, Kenneth Michael Robinson, siad yeaterday that Gray has told him he never hired anyone to kill Leibowitz, and that he does not know Lyons.
"Where does he [Silbert] get that assumption?" Robinson asked. "They don't have any evidence, any person who says Lyons is linked with Linwood."
Law enforcement sources conceded yesterday that there is no hard evidence linking the two, but the sources siad they are continuing to pursue possible linkes between Lyons and the alleged Gray ring.
Authorities have been looking for Lyons since Jan. 2, when Leibowitz identified his picture from an array of mug shots assembled by the FBI. Police homicide detectives had presented Lyons as a possible supect based on information they developed while investigating the murder of Raymond Lee Adms and his girlfriend, Nancy R. Gilmore, who were killed Dec. 12.
Police are continuing to look into the possiblity that Lyons is involved in those deaths.
While Lyons was the subject of a nationwide manhunt, he managed to elude authorities by hiding out with friends, law enforcement sources said yesterday. He apparently never left the Washington area, these sources said.
Lyons traveled about the District of Columbia and Prince George's County, sometimes by bus, visited his family at 67 S St. NW at Christmas time, and read recent accounts of the manhunt for him in The Washington Post, according to law enforcement sources.
In arguing for high bond at Lyons' hearing before U.S. Magistrate Lawrence S. Margolis yesterday, prosecutor C. Madison Brewer said that Lyons had read The Post and had "told people he was on the run, that he was charged with shooting a DA, those are his words."
FBI agents early yesterday afternoon arrested Cheryl Santiago (Tammy) Sanford, 24, of 5902 Knollbrook Ave., Chillum, and charged her with harboring a fugitive.
According to an affidavit filed with the arrest warrant for Sanford, authourities visited her on Jan. 23 and she said that Lyons had been living with her, that he had read an article in The Post about the manhunt for him on Jan. 21, and that after reading the article herself, she told him to leave and he did. During their first visit police and FBI agents found clothes that Sanford said belonged to Lyons, and when they returned a day alter, some of theose clothes were gone, according to the affidavit.
Last Friday Sanford told a federal grand jury that she did not know where Lyons was, according to the affidavit. But after his arret yesterday Lyons told authorities that Sanford had helped him move personal belongings to the Capitol Avenue apartment, adn had been in touch with him after she testified before the grand jury.
Police and FBI agents arrested Lyons yesterday following a tip developed by a 5th District police detective. Lyons apparently was asleep or about to go to sleep on a couch in the living room of the apartment while the friend, Gloria Lynch, was in her bedroom when authorities arrived, according to informed sources
Authorities arrested Lynch and charged her with harboring a fugitive, but prosecutors dropped the charges later in the day for lack of sufficient evidence that she knew Lyons was a wanted man.
Lyons was convicted of armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon in the District of Columbia in 1970 and was sentenced to an indeterminate sentence under the Youth Corrections Act.
Following his release, Lyons was convicted of armed robbery and manslaughter in New York state. He was paroled from New York's Attica prison last March and is wanted in that state for violation of parole.