More than three years after 55-year-old Rodney Lewis was found lying in a pool of his own blood on his kitchen floor, Baltimore County police have charged a man his family had accepted into their Randallstown home.
Eric Isaiah Johnson, 20, was arrested this month in the 2009 killing of Lewis. According to police, Lewis arrived home early and found Johnson and two other youths ransacking the home. Lewis' family had allowed Johnson to stay with them shortly before the killing, according to charging documents.
Police also arrested Leonard Craig Briscoe, 20, in Lewis' death.
Two new homicide detectives were assigned to the case last year and began reinterviewing Lewis' family and Johnson's friends. Briscoe told the detectives that he, Johnson and another friend planned the day before Lewis' death to steal items from the home, according to charging documents.
"The plan was to get some money; we needed money for real," Briscoe told detectives, according to the documents.
The following day, they broke into the home from a side door and raided the house, piling the collected items on the kitchen floor, according to the documents. Briscoe told detectives he broke the locks of the upstairs bedroom doors, where the teens took jewelry and other items. He said they broke a front window to make it appear as if it were a random burglary.
As they worked their way through the house, Lewis unexpectedly returned home, parking in the driveway and entering the home through the side entrance. When he got inside the house, Lewis fought with Johnson, who stabbed him with a knife, Briscoe told detectives.
Briscoe said he pulled Johnson away from Lewis and that the three of them took the stolen belongings from the kitchen to Lewis' car and drove off, according to the documents.
Lewis' 1998 silver Lincoln Navigator was reported stolen. Baltimore City police found it the next day.
After the killing, Johnson invited his friends to stay with him and party in the empty house where Lewis was killed, according to the charging documents.
Johnson later moved to Syracuse, N.Y., where he has been staying with his mother, according to police.
Briscoe, of the 8600 block of Winands Road in Randallstown, pleaded guilty in October in a separate case to attempted robbery with a dangerous and deadly weapon, according to online court records.
Johnson and Briscoe have been charged with one count each of first-degree murder in Lewis' death and are being held without bail at the Baltimore County Detention Center.