There might have been at least one eyewitness to the slayings of Lorenzo and Diorvett Vener. According to the statement of charges filed yesterday in Montgomery County District Court, police said the couple's 4-year-old daughter told them, "David had a gun."
On Wednesday, Takoma Park police charged David W. Stigger, a Navy enlisted man, with two counts of first-degree murder as well as handgun charges. The bodies of Lorenzo Vener, 25, and his wife, Diorvett Vener, 24, were found in bed in their apartment early Tuesday morning. Their daughter, who was not harmed, is now in foster care.
Stigger, 26, had been a close companion of Lorenzo Vener since 1987, when the two men were stationed at the same detachment at the Naval Security Station in Northwest Washington, police said. They worked in the personnel support division and socialized together frequently after work, police said.
After the Veners were killed, Stigger attended a crisis counseling program for workers at the Naval Security Station, police said.
Police said they are still searching for a motive. According to court documents, Stigger told detectives Vener believed he was having an affair with his wife. Police said they have been unable to corroborate Stigger's statement. Stigger denied any romantic involvement with Diorvett Vener.
A neighbor at the Park Ritchie apartments on Maple Avenue said Vener had periodic "temper tantrums" and rages. "He was sort of jealous," the neighbor said.
A police official said no irregularities had turned up in financial audits conducted by the Naval Security Station and Citibank, where Diorvett Vener worked as head teller at the McPherson Square branch. Vener, a petty officer, was a disbursing clerk responsible for travel vouchers and a $2 million monthly payroll.
Stigger, who is being held without bond in the Montgomery County Detention Center, was interviewed twice by Takoma Park police, who became suspicious after he showed up late for work. Authorities later asked Stigger to come to the police station, where he was arrested about 8 p.m. Wednesday.
When police searched Stigger's Volkswagen, authorities said they found a .38 Colt semiautomatic handgun in the car's glove compartment. Police said they also found several rounds of ammunition and two keys to the Veners' apartment.
Spent cartridges were found in the Veners' apartment, and police said two boxes of ammunition and the clothes they believe Stigger was wearing were found in Stigger's Forestville apartment when officers executed a search warrant.
Stigger, who joined the Navy about six years ago, has faced disciplinary action three times in the past two years, police said. According to a source, the charges involved tardiness and a "cocky" attitude. One of the infractions involved the "striking of a superior officer," according to court documents.
On Tuesday morning, Takoma Park officers confronted a man when they arrived at the Veners' seventh-floor apartment to investigate a complaint of a gunshot. The officers left after the man told them nothing was wrong. The three officers later independently identified Stigger from a large group photograph of workers at the Naval Security Station, police said.