A 20-year-old Virginia man may spend the rest of his life behind bars for fatally shooting his mother and younger brother on Valentine’s Day nearly three years ago. Fauquier Circuit Judge James Fisher on Tuesday handed down a sentence of life in prison plus an additional 40 years to Leviathan “Levi” Henry Norwood for the cold-blooded slayings of 34-year-old Jennifer Norwood and 6-year-old Wyatt Norwood inside of their family home, court records reviewed by Law&Crime show.
Norwood pleaded guilty in August 2022 to one count of first-degree murder in his mother’s death and one count of second-degree murder in his brother’s death, which prosecutors reduced from first-degree murder in exchange for his guilty plea. Judge Fisher sentenced Norwood to life on the first-degree murder charge and 40 years on the second-degree murder charge, to be served consecutively.
However, Virginia state law mandates that Norwood be eligible for parole after 20 years because he was a 17-year-old juvenile at the time of the double murder.
Prosecutors dropped an attempted first-degree murder charge stemming from Norwood shooting and injuring his father, Joshua Norwood, as well as one count of auto theft and three weapons charges.
As previously reported by Law&Crime, deputies with the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office at approximately 6 p.m. on Feb. 14, 2020, responded to a 911 call at a residence in Midland regarding a reported shooting. The caller – later identified as Norwood’s father – told the dispatcher that he had walked into his home and found his wife and young son shot to death. The caller said he was then confronted by his elder son, who began firing at him with a handgun.
Norwood’s father was injured in the attack but managed to retreat from the home and call for help, police said. Joshua Norwood killed himself approximately two months after the deaths of his wife and younger son.
Following the familial massacre, Norwood fled the state and went on the run in a stolen 2007 Toyota Camry. But his time on the lam was short-lived as he was arrested the following evening in North Carolina after store employees caught him shoplifting and called police.
During Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, Norwood’s public defender Ryan Ruzic said his client was physically and mentally abused by his father growing up, according to a report from Fauquier Now. Ruzic further stated that Norwood’s father was “extremely racist” and forbade his son from seeing his then-girlfriend, who was Black. Ruzie reportedly said that Joshua Norwood threatened to kill his son “if he ever dated a Black girl.”
Also focusing on Norwood’s then-girlfriend, Fauquier County Commonwealth’s Attorney Scott Hook told Judge Fisher that the tragic murders of a mother and her young son were really just about Norwood’s love life, Fauquier Now reported.
“This is about a girl,” Hook reportedly argued. “Mom and dad wanted to remove [the girlfriend], so they had to go.”
Hook also emphasized that the allegations about Norwood’s father being racist and abusive were only made after Norwood had been caught and charged with murder.
(via Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office, Fox 5 DC YouTube/screen shot)
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