Plea near for Fauquier Co. teen charged in shooting mother, brother

Prosecutors and the public defender for Levi Norwood are nearing a plea agreement on charges that Norwood shot and killed his mother and brother and wounded his father last year at their home in Midland, Virginia.

Norwood was 17 when he allegedly killed his mother, Jennifer, and 6-year-old-brother, Wyatt, and wounded his father, Joshua, on Feb. 14, 2020.

In a hearing Thursday, public defender Ryan Ruzic told Fauquier County Circuit Court Judge Lon Farris that he is reviewing a second court-ordered psychiatric evaluation to determine whether Norwood was sane at the time of the shooting.

A previous evaluation had found Norwood competent to stand trial. It’s not publicly known what it found regarding Norwood’s sanity.

Ruzic asked the judge to set a new court date to give him more time to look at the new evaluation and “see if there’s a resolution that can be worked out.”

Thursday, for the first time, Fauquier County Commonwealth’s Attorney Scott Hook said he was open to a plea agreement to avoid trial.

”If we can negotiate a resolution, that would be better,” Hook told the judge.

Farris told Norwood — who entered the courtroom wearing a T-shirt, striped jail uniform pants and an ankle chain — that he would be back in court Oct. 7 to either enter a plea or set a trial date.

Each of the first-degree murder counts carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

The defense has up until 30 days before trial to file a motion announcing it would argue that Norwood was not guilty by reason of insanity at the time of the killings.

On April 20, 2020, Norwood’s father was found dead at the family home, apparently by suicide. Sheriff’s investigators have said no foul play is suspected.

As WTOP reported in July 2020, charging documents said Norwood told his girlfriend at school earlier that day “that he wanted to kill his mother.” The girlfriend also said Norwood was depressed and anxious, and told her he was schizophrenic and would see “shadow people.”

However, based on the November 2020 evaluation, a mental health professional determined Norwood was competent to assist in his own defense.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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