Two men, one of whom "sang beautifully" in a gospel choir, were being held without bail today following their arrests in connection with the fatal shooting of Aaron S. Levenson, a furniture company official, police said.
Arrested yesterday were Jeffrey Lloyd Johnson, 26, of the 2800 block of Presstman St., and Marc Sean Howell, 20, of the 6400 block of Woodgreen Circle in the Woodlawn area. Police charged each with first-degree murder, attempted robbery and felony handgun violations.
Levenson, 30, was shot three times about 8 a.m. Oct. 4 as he walked toward his family's Royal Furniture Co. in the 500 block of S. Monroe St., police said.
Police said a tip from an anonymous caller phoned in on the day of the crime to Metro Crime Stoppers led to the arrests.
"That really shortened the length of this investigation," said Dennis Hill, police spokesman.
Howell was arrested early yesterday at his job, police said. He works at Ms. Desserts, a company that makes pastries in the 2200 block of Lord Baltimore Drive in Woodlawn. Johnson also works there. He was arrested as he left his house about 5:30 a.m., police said.
Police recovered a 1985 Nissan Pulsar, which is believed to have been the getaway car. It was found at Ms. Desserts. Police say Howell was driving the car, although it wasn't registered to him.
Police say the motive for the shooting was robbery. Levenson was carrying two bank deposit bags that contained only checks, police said.
Freddie Magwood, personnel manager for Ms. Desserts, said the men had worked in maintenance at the firm for less than two months. Howell was "very likable and personable" and Johnson was "quiet and mannerly," Magwood said.
That assessment was echoed in Johnson's neighborhood.
"He was a very nice person. He was church-going and a very respectable man," said a neighbor, Diane Gasque, 34.
Neighbors said he lived in the block with his wife or girlfriend and their young children.
They said Johnson sang with the Melodyaires gospel group.
"He sang beautifully," Gasque said.