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Crime News Family Crimes

Virginia Man Gets Life For Mother, Brother’s Valentine’s Day Murders Committed As A Teen

Prosecutors argued Levi killed his mother and 6-year-old brother to punish his father, who allegedly refused to let the defendant date a Black girl. The father received non-life-threatening injuries in the shooting but took his life two months later. 

By Jax Miller
Killer Motive: What Drives People To Kill?

A Virginia man was sentenced to life behind bars for the Valentine’s Day murders of his mother and 6-year-old brother.

Leviathan “Levi” Norwood, 20, was sentenced to life plus 40 years for the 2020 shooting deaths of his mother, Jennifer Norwood, 34, and young brother, Wyatt Norwood, according to CBS News Radio WTOP-FM. Virginia state law, however, allows him to be eligible for release after serving 20 years of his sentence since Norwood committed the crimes when he was 17 years old.

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Norwood pleaded guilty in August to a charge of first-degree murder for his mother’s death and a reduced charge of second-degree murder for his sibling’s death.

His father, Joshua Norwood, also sustained non-life-threatening injuries in the shooting. Charges related to Joshua’s injuries were previously dropped as part of the plea agreement, but not before Joshua took his own life two months after the double homicide.

A police handout of suspect Levi Norwood

Fauquier County Circuit Court Judge James Fisher handed down more than the recommended 32-year prison term, stating, “I believe Mr. Norwood is a danger to himself, others, and society, and that would continue.”

The murders of Jennifer and Wyatt took place on Feb. 14, 2020, at their Elk Run home in Midland, Virginia — about 50 miles southwest of Washington, D.C. Joshua called 911 at around 6 p.m., reporting he’d found his wife and son shot to death in the basement.

The father identified his older son as the shooter before the 17-year-old suspect fired multiple shots at his father, who was still on the phone with dispatchers. Joshua sustained a graze wound to the head.

The teen fled in a stolen car, sparking massive ground and air searches, with local authorities urging citizens to seek shelter.

He was arrested the next day in North Carolina.

In court, Norwood’s public defender, Ryan Ruzic, said his client succumbed to the pressures of his father, who was allegedly psychologically abusive, according to WTOP-TV. The defense claimed Joshua took issue with the teen having a Black girlfriend.

“He’d kill him if he ever dated a Black girl,” said Ruzic.

A police handout of Crime Scene involving Levi Norwood

At sentencing, the court saw video of Norwood inside a holding cell in Durham, North Carolina, following his arrest, according to WTOP-TV. The defendant talked to himself while alone, frequently referring to his girlfriend and the crimes.

“I killed my brother and mother to punish my dad,” Norwood allegedly kept repeating to himself.

Fauquier County Commonwealth’s Attorney Scott Hook challenged the defense in his closing arguments, presenting a birthday card from the defendant’s 17th birthday, as written by his parents. Hook maintained the card offered a glimpse into how much the Norwoods cared for their son.

“This is about a girl,” Hook said of the defendant’s motive. “Mom and Dad wanted to remove [the girlfriend], so they had to go.”

Earlier in the case, Norwood’s mental health was called into question. Court records previously cited by Oxygen.com stated that on the day of the shooting, Norwood allegedly told his girlfriend he “wanted to kill his mother.”

The girlfriend claimed Norwood reported seeing “shadow people” and allegedly lived with anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia.

Though Ruzic did not proffer an insanity defense, Norwood underwent multiple mental health evaluations following his arrest, though he was found competent to stand trial each time.

The defendant’s grandmother was in the courtroom in a show of support, calling out, “I love you, Levi,” following his sentence.

Norwood declined to speak on his own behalf.

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