Levi Norwood was seventeen years old when he would murder his mother and his little brother in Virginia. Now the teen killer will spend the rest of his life in prison however due to laws in Virginia he will be eligible for parole after 20 years due to his age when the double murder was committed.
According to court documents Levi Norwood would fatally shoot his mother Jennifer Norwood and his six year old brother Wyatt Norwood. Levi Norwood would attempt to murder his father.
Levi Norwood would be arrested and charged with the double murder and would ultimately plead guilty
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Nearly three years after he murdered his mother and 6-year-old brother, a judge sentenced Levi Norwood to life in prison plus 40 years for the Feb. 14, 2020, double homicide in Midland. He will be eligible for parole in 20 years because he was a juvenile at the time of the offense; he is now 20 years old.
Norwood, a 17-year-old Liberty High School student at the time of the murders, pleaded guilty in August to murdering his mother, Jennifer Norwood, 34, and brother, Wyatt Norwood. He also admitted to trying to kill his father, Joshua Norwood, 37, but the shots intended for his father missed. Levi Norwood stole a car at a nearby house and fled to North Carolina, where he was found and taken into custody. Joshua Norwood killed himself two months later.
Circuit Judge James Fisher announced the sentence at the conclusion of a 1 ½ hour hearing Tuesday morning. It was the first time prosecutors played for the court a video recorded in a Durham, North Carolina interrogation room after Levi Norwood was arrested. The video was referenced in written narrative filed with the plea agreement, but only small excerpts from Norwood’s statements had previously been made public.
Norwood did not take the stand Tuesday and has never testified in open court since his arrest.
In the video from the North Carolina interrogation room, Norwood is alone in the small room, handcuffed and sitting in a chair. After about 20 minutes of silence, he sees the security camera and begins to mumble to himself, eventually raising his voice to an audible level to recount the murders in excruciating detail over an hour of rambling, sometimes unintelligible monologue.
Norwood says in the video that he killed his parents because they would not let him be romantically involved with a girl whom they felt was worsening his mental state. Because his parents were “taking his life away” by refusing to let him be with the girl, he said, killing them “is self defense,” he says. “I did it all just so I would see [the girl],” he says at another point, explaining that he planned to run away with her after murdering his family.
The only regret he expresses is his failure to kill his father, whom Levi Norwood shot at and missed before fleeing the scene. “All they had to do was just emancipate me,” he says at another point. “This would have never happened to them.”
Why he killed his 6-year-old brother is less clear. Norwood said at one point it was to save him from “rape and abuse in an orphanage.” But while he admits that it was “kind of sad” to kill his brother, he at other points appeared to relish the act. Wyatt “will never get to enjoy his Valentine’s Day or birthday or any of the other things in life, because I killed him.” (According to prosecutors, Norwood told a psychiatrist during a later evaluation that he killed Wyatt to “punish” his parents.)
Throughout the monologue, Norwood jokes and chuckles about the more gruesome details of the murders.
He muses at various times about what version of “insane” he might be diagnosed with, whether he will be sent to a juvenile or adult prison and what last meal he should choose if he is sentenced to death. At other times, he appears to address imaginary friends with names like “Smiley,” “Viper” and “Zero.” Looking around the room, he says, “I like this. It’s fun. It’s fitting for me.” He says that the murders “actually helped” his anxiety.
“Why is it so enjoyable killing people?” he muses. “It just feels right.”
He often repeats his frustration about his own mental state. “I wish I could feel f—— emotion,” Norwood says at one point. “I want to be normal.” But like in many parts of the monologue, he quickly changes the subject. “At least I don’t have to worry about my math grade anymore.”
Norwood’s attorney, public defender Ryan Ruzic, did not dispute any of the facts surrounding the murders themselves. But Ruzic pointed out that Norwood alleged to a doctor after the murders that his father had physically and mentally abused him from a young age, asking the judge to consider those allegations when imposing a sentence.
Joshua Norwood allegedly forced a “very young” Levi to kill small animals, insulting him when he was reluctant to participate. Joshua Norwood allegedly threatened to kill his son if he ever dated a Black girl — or was gay — sometimes pointing a gun at his son to make the point. The father allegedly beat Levi in a hardware store with a crowbar in a fit of rage. Joshua Norwood allegedly “actively resisted” attempts by other family members to get Levi mental health treatment.
Ruzic said that Joshua Norwood’s alleged treatment of his son made it “almost inescapable” that, especially with severe mental health issues left untreated, Levi would engage eventually in some kind of violence. “This is not a crime that came out of nowhere,” Ruzic argued, adding that Levi grew up in an “extremely racist … abusive and demeaning” home environment because of his father.
“Society, had we known what was happening, maybe could have stopped it,” Ruzic said. “In many ways, [Levi] is indeed a victim.”
The prosecutor, Fauquier County Commonwealth’s Attorney Scott Hook, successfully rebutted Ruzic’s arguments for leniency, however. Even if his “dad was the worst person, Levi has taken his place,” Hook argued. “I would argue that Levi is worse than any way they portray his father.”
And, Hook said, Norwood only alleged the years of parental abuse after he was arrested. The murders were not about any alleged abuse, Hook said, pointing out that the monologue from the North Carolina interrogation room made no mention of any alleged abuse. Instead, Hook argued, “This is about a girl.”
Norwood’s family was “just a normal family with their flaws,” Hook argued, “but Levi is a dangerous person.”
In an especially poignant moment, Hook read a note Joshua Norwood wrote in Levi’s birthday card a month before the murders. “I love you buddy,” the card read, “and I’m proud to call you my son.”