Man charged in double homicide

William Jacob Dempsey told police he killed one man to end his pain and another because of an argument.

Dempsey, 22, was charged late Monday with two counts of homicide, in the deaths of Christopher Leonard and a man he identified as ?Kevin? who were found in a Manassas residence Monday.

Dempsey, 22, said he was showing a shotgun to Leonard when it accidentally fired. He shot Leonard second time to end his pain, according to a criminal complaint on file with the Prince William County Circuit Court.

Dempsey told police he was ?forced to shoot? Kevin because of a disagreement the two had.

Police were called to 9405 Fairview Ave. on Monday at 2:20 p.m., when Dempsey?s grandparents, returning from a week-and-a-half long vacation, found the two men dead inside.

Police have not made a positive identification of the victims and no information beyond what was contained in the court documents was released Tuesday.

The bodies were found in the dining room and the cellar by the couple who neighbors identified as the Taylors. The couple is in their sixties, neighbors said.

The bodies of the victims were taken to the Northern Virginia Forensic Laboratory for autopsies.

The homicides appear to be drug related, Common- wealth?s Attorney Paul Ebert said in a Tuesday morning press conference. He would not elaborate.

Dempsey has a heroin addiction, according to a supplementary investigation form from the Culpeper County Sheriff?s Office on file in Prince William County Circuit Court.

He was convicted Thursday of credit card fraud stemming from an incident in February. He was charged in Prince William County General District Court on April 15 with fraud and forgery and was supposed to be in court Monday — the day the bodies were discovered — for a preliminary hearing.

Dempsey was also convicted in January 2001 in Fauquier County with destruction of property and assault and battery. He was held in contempt of court in December 2001 in Fauquier at a hearing revoking the suspended sentence he received for his prior convictions there.

A number of guns was found in the house, but a shotgun appears to be the weapon used to fell the victims, Ebert said. He would not say whether police recovered the murder weapon.

Dempsey surfaced as ?a person of interest? as the investigation unfolded Monday afternoon, Sgt. Bill Goodman, Manassas police spokesman, said.

Police located him at Prince William Hospital after a woman called 911 from the Olde Towne Inn on Main Street because she thought he was overdosing, Manassas City police Chief John Skinner said at the press conference.

Dempsey was apparently slipping in and out of consciousness the whole day, and was treated at Prince William Hospital, according to reports by police. Late Monday, he was released into the custody of detectives.

Dempsey may be eligible for the death penalty, Ebert said.

In order to qualify as a capital crime, a basic murder charge must be aggravated by specific factors. Drug related murders, murders in which two or more people are slaughtered in a three-year period or murders involving a schedule I or II controlled substance qualify as those eligible for the death penalty.

Staff writer Daniel Drew can be reached at (703) 878-8065. Staff writer Maria Hegstad contributed to this report.