Man captured thanks to reader pleads guilty to murder

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Crime,Scott McCabe
A suspect in cold case murder who was arrested thanks to a tip from a Washington Examiner reader has pleaded guilty to the 1997 killing in southern Virginia.

Lonnie Bowers Jr. pleaded to a lesser charge of second-degree murder last week, a day before he was to go to trial in the slaying of 21-year-old Carl Shawn Turner at a house party in Suffolk, Va.

For more than a decade, Turner's death went unsolved. No one could or would come forward to identify the gunman, even though there were more than 50 people at the house, police said. Turner's murder was classified as a cold case.

But in 2009, prosecutors obtained an indictment for first-degree murder for Bowers. But by that time, Bowers was long gone.

"America's Most Wanted" television show featured the case and placed it on their website. In November 2011, the "AMW" hotline received a tip that Bowers was in Northwest Washington, and forwarded the information to U.S. Marshals here.

U.S. Marshals turned to The Examiner, and on Dec. 1, 2011, Bowers was featured as the Most Wanted fugitive of the week.

Within hours of the newspaper hitting the streets, marshals deputies received a call from tipster who said that the man was living in the 1000 block of Mount Olivet Street NE near the Trinidad neighborhood.

The information furthered what was called into "AMW" two weeks earlier.

Within 15 minutes of the call from an Examiner readers, members of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force and D.C. police mobilized were at his doorstep and Bowers was put in handcuffs, authorities said.

Since 2008, federal authorities have credited readers of The Washington Examiner with the capture of 42 fugitives, including murders, kidnappers, child sex offenders, rapists and scam artists.

At least eight were convicted killers or wanted on a homicide charge.

Last month, a reader's tip led directly to the arrest of a fugitive sex offender who impregnated a 14-year-old girl when he was 31.

smccabe@washingtonexaminer.com

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Scott McCabe

Staff Writer - Crime
The Washington Examiner