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Family and Friends Speak out on Cold Case Arrest - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Family and Friends Speak out on Cold Case Arrest

Posted: Updated: Jan 13, 2011 06:05 PM EST

A string of fraudulent checks proved to be key in solving a Waynesboro murder dating back nearly 20 years but the victim's daughter says she's not yet ready to believe it's finally over.

In 1991, on the night Arvetta June Davis was severely beaten in her home on north Bayard Avenue, her daughter, Brenda Early, was working as a Waynesboro dispatcher. But no 9-1-1 call came in and only Davis's killer knew her fate until she missed work the next day. Today her daughter said she'll have no peace unless the arrest leads to a conviction.

Lori Littlejohn, a friend of Davis', said, "I was here the day it happened. She usually came in early. And when she didn't come in, we thought something was not right. It was just very much a shock."

June Davis' friends at Weasie's Kitchen regarded her as a hard worker, and a quiet, private woman. The Waynesboro restaurant owner posted a reward for an arrest. But as the months dragged by, the only news was of Davis dying in the hospital.

Littlejohn said, "The atmosphere was just weird. Everybody was sort of looking at each other, because you didn't know who did it."

The key break in this case quietly came this past February when 53-year-old Lynwood Johnson pleaded guilty to fifteen counts of fraud in Augusta County Circuit Court. Under Virginia law, that conviction required him to submit a DNA sample. Seven months later a lab linked it to the Davis murder case. Johnson faces a second-degree murder charge and what could amount to life behind bars.

Brenda Early said, "He had his nineteen years to be with family and friends and he took that away from her. She didn't get to know her grandkids. She has a great grandchild that she will never get to see or know."

Early says Johnson's name and face are not familiar but Littlejohn recalls him as an occasional diner at Weasie's. Linwood Roosevelt Johnson reportedly lived near Davis back in 1991 but her family and friends know of no connection between the victim and suspect.

Littlejohn said, "I'm just relieved that it's over. Hopefully he gets what's coming to him." But Davis's family is more cautious. Early stated, "There is still no closure and there won't be till afterwards".

Johnson is being held without bond in the Middle River Regional Jail, at least until his first court appearance next week.

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