02-27-2006, 07:08 PM #1Former member
- Join Date
- Dec 2005
VA - Henry Long, 25, killed in restaurant robbery, Henrico, 16 Jan 1977
Henrico Police have made an arrest in a murder that's over 29 years old.
30 years ago, Shakey's Pizza Parlour on West Broad Street, now the site of a Latino market, was the scene of the 1977 murder of Henry Long, a restaurant employee. Until now, the case remained unsolved.
"It was one of those cases that everybody really wanted to solve and technology has really come through for us so we're really excited about it," said Lieutenant Doug Perry of the Henrico Police Department.
Here's how police tell us they were able to crack the case. In 1996, Henrico Police gave Long's murder another try, re-submitting evidence from the scene to the state lab. Eight years later, in 2004 police got a DNA hit - and 61-year-old Benjamin Johnson emerged the prime suspect. But there was still work to be done.
"DNA is only one piece of the puzzle. We still have to use our investigative techniques and put the case all together, and one thing I want to say is the Commonwealth's Attorney was a great partner in this," Perry explained.
Finally on February 16, a multijurisdicitonal grand jury indicted Johnson for Long's murder. Johnson has a long criminal history that dates back to the 60's. He's currently serving a two year sentence on a gun charge. Police tell us they're glad to bring closure to the victim's family after 29 years of uncertainty.
We are told Henry Long's family has moved out of state and did not want to be interviewed for the story.
02-28-2006, 07:30 PM #2Registered User
- Join Date
- Sep 2005
This is OT, but Pondering, I just want to personally thank you for finding and posting all these resolutions to what had been cold cases. You post so many and most are of people not giving up and arrests being made that I come here to read your posts and feel better about the state of our world. From the bottom of my heart Thank you!
02-28-2006, 07:56 PM #3Registered User
- Join Date
- Oct 2005
Yep! What she said!
03-01-2006, 05:36 AM #4Former member
- Join Date
- Dec 2005
Thanks guys! Actually I worry about becoming a "newpaper clipper" you know, the kind of person who only posts the articles.
These cases being closed are to me, extremely important. Not only do the families get some closure, but we find out whether or not the cases were ever proven.
Sometimes its DNA or other high technology uses that resolve them. Sometimes its the guilt weighing heavily on the suspect or a witness, and sometimes its just a new Detective looking at the case with fresh eyes.
Sadly some only get "resolved" if the prime suspect commits suicide - no trial, no presenting of evidence.
30 years is a very long time to have a case resolved... the important thing is that LE did get back to it and for that they deserve congrats!
08-29-2007, 10:35 AM #5Registered User
- Join Date
- Sep 2004
Benjamin Richard Johnson
'Coldest' case heats up
Pizza-parlor killing evidence from 1977 matches the DNA of a felon who stands charged
BY MARK BOWES
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER
Friday, February 24, 2006
Henry William Long lost his life while fighting an armed robber more than 29 years ago.But before he died, Long -- a black-belt in karate -- managed to spill some of his killer's blood as he struggled with him inside the Shakey's Pizza Parlor at 6006 W. Broad St. on Jan. 16, 1977.
Remarkably, after sitting in a police property room for decades, that blood evidence recently led to a man police believe is Long's killer.
The suspect, 61-year-old Benjamin Richard Johnson, was arraigned on a first-degree murder charge yesterday in Henrico County Circuit Court. He was brought here from the Sussex II state correctional facility in Waverly, where he was serving the final months of a two-year prison sentence. He was due to be released in May.
The key to solving the case was Johnson's blood, which was preserved by investigators and submitted in 1996 to the Virginia Department of Forensic Science's DNA databank, which contains the DNA profiles of tens of thousands of convicted felons.Investigators didn't know whose blood they had until after Johnson was arrested on a felony gun charge in Richmond in September 2004. He was required under state law to submit a DNA sample after his conviction in December of that year.
Six months later, state lab technicians matched it with Johnson's DNA."To our recollection, this is our oldest, coldest hit," said Dr. Paul Ferrara, director of the Division of Forensic Science. "We've gotten over 3,200 of these hits since we started this databank back in 1989."
Authorities say the case illustrates the power of DNA evidence and perseverance of investigators, who never gave up on the case. After 20 years of dead ends, Henrico cold-case detective Jim Dorton decided to submit the blood evidence to the DNA databank before he retired."
We don't give up, cases are never cold and it shows the dedication of the men and women that are employed in the police department," said Henrico Capt. Jan Stem.Henry William Long was 25 when he was killed. He lived just 200 yards from the restaurant, which is no longer there.
According to news accounts at the time, the robbery attempt happened after the Shakey's had closed for the night. Police believe someone accosted Long about 2:30 a.m., either at the door of his car or at his apartment.
Long, an assistant manager, was forced back into the pizza parlor and into a rear office, where he was told to take off his clothes.The month before -- two days before Christmas -- Long had been accosted by someone, but had run back inside the closed restaurant. Five months before that, he had been robbed there after someone cut the phone lines.
This time, Long scuffled with the would-be robber, whose pistol went off. Perhaps it was then when the robber was wounded, police speculated at the time.But the pair fought their way to the front of the restaurant.
Someone picked up an 18-inch pizza knife.
Long's naked body was found just inside the front door by a janitor. The knife was found nearby. Three bullets were found in that area of the restaurant.
Although robbery was the apparent motive, no money was reported missing. Long's wallet was found intact and as much as $1,000 was still in the safe, according to the newspaper accounts. The telephone lines had been cut.
Police speculated then that Long's killer may also have been responsible for the other suspicious incidents at the Shakey's."I think Henry Long decided that he had been robbed one too many times, and was going to fight back," said Henrico Investigator Doug Sullivan, who picked up the case with his partner, Investigator Robert Hewlett, after the DNA hit.
Police officials yesterday said the DNA match would not have been possible without the work of two earlier detectives -- Buddy Albert and Garland Priddy -- who collected the blood evidence in 1977 and carefully preserved it for future analysis."Had they not collected the evidence the way they collected it, and preserved it, we wouldn't be here today," Sullivan said.
When Sullivan and Hewlett took over the case in late 2005, the investigators tracked down Long's former co-workers to help reconstruct the night he was killed."
This is a really great case for us because all of our witnesses are still alive, and they remember the incident like it happened yesterday," Sullivan said.
The main concern, Sullivan added, was the integrity of the evidence."The chain of custody is very important in this case," he said.
"Up until 1997, the evidence had basically never moved anywhere. It had just stayed in our property evidence room. This was probably our oldest case that we still have any type of good evidence on."
After getting the initial DNA hit, Sullivan and Hewlett resubmitted other pieces of evidence for testing, "to verify that indeed this was going to be the individual," Sullivan said.When the lab makes a match, "that's not the end of it," said Ferrara, the forensic science director."
In a case like this, where the crime scene evidence has already been examined and returned some nine years ago, we ask them to resubmit it -- and then we double check it," Ferrara said. "Then we'll do a direct comparison to a new sample from [the suspect]. And that eliminates any chance of mix-up in sampling."
Henrico investigators yesterday notified Long's parents of the arrest. The out-of-state couple, both 78, were overwhelmed by the news, a police spokesman said, and didn't want to immediately speak about the arrest.
Federal Bureau of Investigation - CODIS News Article - 'Coldest' case heats up
08-19-2013, 12:11 AM #6By The Washington Times
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Man arrested in 1977 slaying
Henrico County police used DNA evident to arrest a man in a nearly 30-year-old murder case yesterday.
Benjamin Richard Johnson, 61, was charged with first-degree murder in the Jan. 16, 1977, death of Henry William Long.Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/...#ixzz2cNtulXdO
DNA Takes the Stand
Invention & Technology
How the genetic code became a revolutionary tool for law enforcement Jack Kelly
Fall 2006 | Volume 22, Issue 2
Back in 1977, years before DNA profiling was dreamed of, a robber held up a Richmond, Virginia, business called Shakey’s Pizza Parlor. The incident turned violent, and the thief murdered the shop’s owner. In the struggle the assailant left behind drops of his own blood. With little additional evidence and no suspects, police placed the case on the list of those they would probably never solve.__________________________________
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