The Washington Post

Brothers charged with killing man in Manassas, setting him on fire

Two brothers were charged Wednesday with killing a man in a hotel room in Old Town Manassas, according to law enforcement authorities, who said the body was set on fire in a parking lot across the street.

Authorities, who released few details about the case, did not say how the 44-year-old victim died or suggest a motive for the killing, the city’s second of the year. The suspects were charged with murder and were ordered held without bond.

The dead man was identified as Antonio Ricardo Bailey, 44, who lived on the southern outskirts of Manassas. A woman who answered the phone at his house said relatives did not want to talk with a reporter.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul B. Ebert identified the suspects as Gerry Lee Sword, 50, and Richard Dale Sword, 49, both of Springfield. They were arraigned Wednesday and have a preliminary hearing scheduled for Dec. 5.

Their attorneys did not return calls seeking comment.

Sgt. Lowell L. Nevill, a spokesman for Manassas police, said Bailey’s body was discovered about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday in a parking lot next to a vacant building in the 9000 block of Church Street. The lot is next to a vacant lot on a well-traveled street near a bank, a church and the local newspaper.

A criminal complaint filed in Prince William County General District Court says a video surveillance camera captured the suspects carrying a body out of Room 43 of the Olde Towne Inn.

The document says the suspects put the body into a white Ford van owned by one of them. “The accused, Richard Dale Sword, is seen in the video driving the van across the street and removing the body and setting it on fire,” the complaint says.

Prosecutors put the time of the death between 2:30 and 3:30 a.m. Tuesday, during the final throes locally of the powerful storm that swept the region.

Authorities declined to discuss a possible motive, and court documents do not offer one.

The year’s first homicide case in Manassas resulted from an incident that occurred in March on Aspen Place, behind Georgetown South Shopping Center, less than a mile from Church Street. In that case, police said John Henry Jackson, 20, of Manassas Park was beaten during a late-afternoon fight March 17 and died of his injuries in late May.

Justin Lee Finley, 23, of Gainesville and Stephen Damont Greene, 20, of Manassas were charged with murder and being participants in the Bloods gang, according to the commonwealth’s attorney’s office.

Greene is scheduled for trial in Circuit Court on Dec. 4; Finley’s trial is scheduled for Jan. 7.

Peter Hermann covers crime for The Washington Post.

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