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Loudoun County Attorneys > Blog > Criminal Defense > Cops Offer Cash Reward for Suspect’s Capture

Cops Offer Cash Reward for Suspect’s Capture


Investigators are looking for a man wanted in connection with a November 2023 shooting, and they’re offering $5,000 for information that leads to his arrest and conviction.

Officers say a 26-year-old Big Stone Gap man was shot and killed around 8:40 p.m. on November 14 in the 3700 block of Wharf Lane. The primary suspect in the shooting is a 27-year-old Fredericksburg man. He is wanted for murder, use of a firearm in commission of a felony, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Investigators believe the two men were known to each other. The motive for the shooting is still unclear.

No other details were available.

Initial Stage Investigations

Violent crimes typically have no eyewitnesses. Therefore, police investigators must manufacture witnesses. They usually target individuals in the area and use the carrot or the sick. The carrot, which they used in the above story, is generally a cash payment. The stick, a tactic that gets much less publicity, is a threat of prosecution.

Either way, these witnesses are unreliable. If easy money is available, many people will say almost anything to get it. Likewise, many people will say almost anything to avoid legal trouble.

The information these individuals provide might well be accurate. But there’s a difference between accuracy and reliability. A broken clock is accurate twice a day, but a broken clock is clearly unreliable.

Manufactured witnesses sometimes have other reliability issues. Anonymous tips are a good example. If the tipster doesn’t feel the information is reliable enough to vouch for it, a Leesburg criminal defense attorney can certainly convince a judge to weigh that information the same way.

When a manufactured witness identifies a person of interest, investigators interrogate that individual. They almost never Mirandize these individuals before they ask questions. Therefore, a Leesburg criminal defense lawyer can exclude the answers to those questions, under the Fifth Amendment.

The right to remain silent kicks in when officers start asking questions, not when they arrest defendants. Exclusion also applies to any physical or other evidence officers uncover as a result of the illegal interrogation. Such evidence is fruit from a poisonous tree.

Late Stage Investigations

As the investigation progresses, officers confirm the information they obtained. However, this process often makes the evidence weaker.

Faulty lineups, which relate back to the reliability/accuracy issue discussed above, are a good example.

Usually, investigators use single-blind photo or live lineups. The administering officer knows the suspect’s identity. So, officers usually prompt witnesses. A one-photo “is this him/her” lineup is the classic example. Other times, administering officers put the suspect’s photo in the middle of the lineup. Not surprisingly, therefore, these biased lineups are almost always accurate.

Double blind lineups (neither the administering officer nor the witness knows the suspect’s identity) are much more reliable.

On a related note, lineup instructions matter. Usually, officers tell witnesses to pick someone, an instruction that pressures the witness. If the officer says the suspect might or might not be in the lineup, the pressure’s off.

Contact a Dedicated Loudoun County Lawyer

There’s a big difference between an arrest and a conviction in criminal law. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Leesburg, contact Simms Showers, LLP, Attorneys at Law. Convenient payment plans are available.



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