An act of teenage male bravado on the part of at least one boy may have led to Sunday’s beating death of an 81-year-old man visiting Lynchburg for his granddaughter’s wedding, police said.
Two 16-year-olds and a 13-year-old were arrested Tuesday and charged with the murder of George Leroy Baker III, of Tempe, Ariz.
Police found Baker unconscious on the 1100 block of Main Street about 11 p.m. Sunday. Baker suffered “significant head injuries,” Lynchburg Police Capt. Todd Swisher said.
He was taken to Lynchburg General Hospital, where he died Monday, Swisher said.
“This seems to be an unprovoked, random violent act,” he said. “What a tragic event.”
Though police have said they are prohibited by law from naming juveniles, a search warrant filed in Lynchburg Circuit Court on Tuesday identified Kenneth Davis as the person who ran up to Baker “in an aggressive manner” before witnesses heard what sounded like a blow to Baker’s body and saw Davis running away.
Witnesses told police they heard Davis say he would hit the first person he saw in order to impress girls he was with, the affidavit from Lynchburg Det. Todd Rodes states.
“A witness dining at the Hash House saw a young black male kick the victim in the face after he had already been knocked to the ground,” the affidavit states. “The victim was unconscious upon bystanders coming to his aide.”
The affidavit states witnesses identified Davis by name and in a photo lineup as participating in the beating.
Investigators took a red and black “Miami” jersey, two pairs of shoes and several pairs of pants and shorts from a unit at the Lynchburg High Apartments on Park Avenue listed as Davis’ home, according to the search warrant.
The warrant was executed about half an hour before police say the first 16-year-old was arrested, at about 1 a.m. Tuesday.
The other two teens were arrested around 4 p.m. Tuesday, police said. Their identities remain unknown.
Baker was staying at the Craddock-Terry Hotel for the wedding Sunday and left for an evening walk downtown, Swisher said.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Doucette said anyone 14 or older charged with murder in Virginia is automatically prosecuted by law in circuit court if a juvenile court judge finds probable cause to support the charges. Prosecution in circuit court exposes them to the possibility of adult-term prison sentences.