Remembering two City Police officers who died on this day in 1964
From Fredericksburg City Police:
On May 5, 1964, 31-year-old Sergeant Roy Glen Wright and 27-year-old Patrolman William Franklin Mines were working the midnight shift in a two-officer car. While checking behind Fredericksburg’s Park N Shop shopping center, they came upon Bruce Walter Leikett. Recently released from a federal penitentiary in Pennsylvania after serving time for auto theft, Leikett was at that time in possession of a stolen vehicle. When asked for identification, Leikett produced a handgun and shot the officers before they could react. Both officers, well-respected fathers and members of the community, died at the scene. Leikett then robbed the officers of their cash, service revolvers and handcuffs before fleeing to Michigan. He was arrested on May 8, in Wayne County, near Inkster, Mich., following a high-speed chase that ended in a fatal crash that took the life of an innocent motorist, 21-year-old Joe David Ferrell, who was due to be married the following day.
Leikett was returned to Fredericksburg to stand trial, where he pleaded not guilty to both murders. After a two-day trial, a jury found Leikett guilty. He was sentenced to die in Virginia’s electric chair. Shortly after the trial, a technicality was brought up that resulted in the trial being declared a mistrial. Prior to the case being retried, Leikett pleaded guilty to both murders in exchange for two life sentences. Leikett also was convicted of a killing that occurred in New Jersey a day before the Fredericksburg shootings. In that case, John Kersnowsky, an 18-year-old gas station attendant, was robbed and shot to death.
Despite 26 parole board hearing requests and an appeal for medical clemency, which Gov. Mark Warner denied, Leikett was never able to secure his release from prison. He died, at the age of 66, of liver cancer at the medical unit of Powhatan Correctional Center on February 17, 2004.