Man charged in Bethesda slaying of parents

March 15, 1996|By Nancy A. Youssef | Nancy A. Youssef,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

WASHINGTON - A man whose parents were found shot to death in their Bethesda home Wednesday night was arrested early yesterday after an eight-hour standoff with police and charged in the killings.

The suspect, Donald L. Levin, 44, also of Bethesda, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and was jailed without bond, Montgomery County police said.

Police said they knew of no motive, and their information about the circumstances of the killings was sketchy. But police said the victims were shot in the head at close range.

David Richard Levin, 82, and Molly Pearl Levin, 77, of the 9200 block of Cypress Ave. were found dead about 6: 30 p.m. Wednesday. A neighbor who regularly checked on the couple phoned police, saying the victims had not responded to phone calls and knocks on the door.

Police forced their way into the home and found the bodies of Mr. Levin in the foyer and Mrs. Levin in the bedroom.

"Witnesses said a vehicle was at the scene early on in the day, which was close to the description of [Donald] Levin's car," said Courtney McFee, a police spokeswoman. "When we went to [his] house, they were indeed one and the same [car]."

Police phoned Mr. Levin, who refused to leave his home in the 9900 block of Fernwood Road. When officers returned with a search warrant, the suspect barred the door and threatened them, said Ann Evans, a police spokeswoman.

A police SWAT team arrived and secured surrounding homes and yards. A neighbor, Steuart C. Day, said police asked neighbors to turn off their lights "because with the light on, it made the SWAT team vulnerable."

Using a bullhorn, officers persuaded Mr. Levin to surrender about 2: 50 a.m. yesterday, about eight hours after they had arrived at his home.

Neighbors said that Mr. Levin appraised homes for his father, a real estate broker. He lived alone and was separated from his wife, Jean.

Jean Levin said her husband loved his parents but suffered from depression, especially since his mother suffered a stroke last year.

Pub Date: 3/15/96

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