DNA hit helps Henrico detectives solve 19-year-old murder case

Lonnie Ray Wiseman (Source: Iowa Dept. of Corrections)
Lonnie Ray Wiseman (Source: Iowa Dept. of Corrections)
Henry Weatherford
Henry Weatherford

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Henrico Police are releasing some details as to what led detectives to make an arrest in a murder almost 20 years old.

Fifty-year-old Henry Weatherford was found shot to death inside his home in 1994. With the help of a DNA hit, detectives are now working to bring his suspected killer back to Virginia.

If Weatherford had lived, he would be 69-years-old today. But for nearly two decades, Henrico detectives have asked, who killed him?

"We never give up, nothing ever goes away," said detective Joe Schihl. He got a hold of the case and started putting the pieces back together.

NBC12 went back to the neighborhood where it happened. Weatherford's home is no longer on Crenshaw Road, but police say he was found in his den and had been shot multiple times

Police had several suspects, but not enough evidence to bring charges. The case stretched hundreds of miles from Richmond, to Missouri where Weatherford's car was found, to Iowa where they tracked down the suspect, Lonnie Wiseman.

"It's just a matter of keep going back and back and hoping for better information, and more information," said detective Schihl.

That piece of information was evidence examined in 2001 that linked DNA from the crime scene to Wiseman who was in Richmond in the 90's. By 2001, police say Wiseman was serving time in jail and his DNA was in the system. Detective Schihl can't give any more details, because that will come out in trial.

He believes Wiseman is the shooter, but won't take full credit in solving the case. He says numerous detectives, many of them already retired, worked on it.

"They're excited that we've gotten an indictment it was truly a team effort, it wasn't just one individual," he said.

Weatherford leaves behind a daughter, Susan Weatherford. She didn't want to talk on camera but gave this statement: "I would like to thank the detectives involved, and the Commonwealth's Attorney, for helping to bring some closure to me and my family. I ask that our privacy be respected at this time."

Right now Wiseman is in jail in Iowa for robbery. He's been sentenced until 2025. He will have to be extradited to Virginia for the trial. Once Wiseman is back in Virginia, detectives say they will have 120 days to put him on trial. No trial date has been set yet.

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