Local News

Police Identify Person of 'High Interest' in Fatal Home Invasion

Posted December 21, 2007 11:53 a.m. EST
Updated December 21, 2007 10:11 p.m. EST

— Rocky Mount police have identified "a person of high interest" in the apparent residential break-in Friday that left two women dead and a man in critical condition.

Rocky Mount police Capt. Martin McCoy said they hoped to bring the man in for questioning. McCoy did not release the man's name.

When Leona L. Johnson failed to show up for work at the Rocky Mount Police Department on Friday, officers went to her house to check on her, Police Chief John Manley said. Johnson was a secretary for the department's Uniform Operations Division for the past three years, he said.

Officers found a broken window in the back door of the house, at 1247 Compass Creek Drive, and found Johnson, 50, and Deborah M. Scriven, 44, shot to death inside, Manley said.

The shooting occurred between 3:45 and 9:45 a.m., he said. Investigators haven't determined the type of handgun used.

"She was a very pleasant person, and we really don't have anyone we know of that she had a conflict with," Manley said of Johnson. "She was a good person to be around.

"We are saddened. (This case) touched us deeply, and we're dealing with that," he said. "We will continue to work the case as we would any other case."

Scriven worked at Nash General Hospital and had recently earned a nurse assistant certification, friends said.

Scriven's son, 21-year-old Devin Scriven, was wounded in the incident. He was airlifted to Pitt Memorial Hospital in Greenville, where he was listed in critical condition, police said.

Manley said Johnson and the Scrivens were found in three different rooms inside the house, which is off N.C. Highway 48 near Northgreen Golf Club north of downtown Rocky Mount.

"We believe it was an intruder, but some level of acquaintance," Manley said. "This doesn't appear to be a random act."

Police were following several leads Friday afternoon, but they haven't determined a motive for the slayings and haven't identified any potential suspects, he said.

"I hope when they get the person or persons, that whoever this person is, that they suffer every day, every minute, every second because she did not deserve for this to happen to her," said Beverly Veal, a co-worker and friend of Deborah Scriven. "Anybody didn't have to hurt her. They could have went and said, 'We want whatever,' and she would have given it to them. So, for this random act of violence to happen was just unnecessary."

Veal said she last spoke with her friend around midnight Thursday about a holiday party they were planning. The two were also looking forward to a special trip they were planning to take next week.

"She was going to be 45 next Saturday," Veal said. "I was taking her to Disney World. We were going to leave early Friday morning and come back Sunday, because she'd never been to Disney World."

State Bureau of Investigation agents, deputies from Nash and Edgecombe counties and state Highway Patrol troopers were assisting in the investigation. Investigators said they are confident they'll find the person or persons responsible.

Anyone with information in the case is asked to call Capt. Martin McCoy of the Rocky Mount Police Department at 252-972-1411.