Virginia state police investigating the slaying of a trooper who was stabbed 42 times on the doorstep of his Manassas town house in August 1984 say that, while the case is still being "pursued daily," they are no closer to an arrest.
The slaying of Trooper Johnny Rush Bowman, 31, which touched off one of the most extensive investigations in state history, is the only unsolved slaying of a trooper in the history of the state police.
The Washington Post reported in November that authorities had focused their investigation on another member of the state police but had insufficient evidence to make an arrest in the case.
The suspect, according to law enforcement sources, is Perry L. Worrell, a 32-year-old Dumfries, Va., man who was placed on an unpaid leave of absence shortly after the Bowman slaying.
Efforts to contact Worrell, who one law enforcement source called a "walking time bomb," have been unsuccessful. His telephone number apparently has been changed and is now unpublished, and his attorney, Philip J. Hirshkop, said Worrell is under instructions not to talk to reporters.
Worrell, who was struck by a car in an unrelated incident in November, has had several operations, is "severely incapacitated" and unable to work, Hirschkop added.
Hirschkop said that Worrell and Bowman were "very close friends" and that he knows of "no impropriety and no motive" for the slaying. Hirschkop has also said his client "absolutely swears he has nothing to do with the murder of this state trooper."
Worrell is no longer a member of the state police. Police officials would not say whether he was fired or retired of his own accord, or whether he is collecting benefits from the state. "He's just not a member of our department anymore," said Capt. Paul C. Hollandsworth of the state police. "To get into any details would require a release from him."
"I do believe there'll be a resolution of this case," Paul B. Ebert, Prince William County commonwealth's attorney, said in an interview. "There's a better chance than not it'll be in the legal system."
Ron Berryman, director of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation of the state police, said, "The case is still open and still actively being investigated . . . . There's still a full-time investigation. It's being pursued daily."
Asked if there had been developments in the case during the past six months or so, Berryman responded, "Developments, yes, but I wouldn't say" an arrest is any closer.