Desmond Lavonta Brown
Photo: Floyd County Sheriff’s Office
Photo: Floyd County Sheriff’s Office

Man charged in Rome double homicide arrested for 3rd time this week

A man investigators believe is tied to the deaths of two women whose bodies were dumped off a Rome bridge has been arrested for the third time this week.

Desmond Lavonta Brown, 28, is facing a misdemeanor charge of obstruction related to the deaths of Vanita Richardson, 18, and Truvenia Campbell, 31. Their bodies were discovered May 13 under an overpass near the Etowah River. 

RELATED: ‘My world is gone’: Teen’s mother heartbroken after 2 bodies dropped off Rome bridge

Both women had bags tied over their heads when they were found, according to a Rome police report. Brian Johnston, the GBI special agent in charge of the case, told the Rome News-Tribune their bodies were “apparently dropped over the bridge.”

Vanita Richardson (left), Truvenia Campbell
Photo: Channel 2 Action News

Another man, 36-year-old Devin Lashawn Watts, has also been arrested in the case. Neither Brown nor Watts have been charged with killing the women, but Johnston said they are both considered suspects in the homicide investigation.

“I think we’re starting to paint a pretty good picture of what happened to those two victims,” Johnston told Channel 2 Action News. “... we feel pretty confident that we will be able to hold all of them accountable.”

Devin Lashawn Watts (left), Desmond Lavonta Brown
Photo: Floyd County Sheriff’s Office

Brown was first arrested on the obstruction charge Monday, according to the GBI. Two days later, he was picked up in Bartow County by the U.S. Marshals Service and charged with possessing more than an ounce of marijuana. 

On Friday, the GBI announced that Brown was arrested again, this time on charges of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, and possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. He has been in the Floyd County Jail since Wednesday.

MORE: 2 men charged after women’s bodies found under Rome bridge

It is unclear how Brown and Watts are connected to the double homicide. The GBI said their initial arrests “were the results of search warrants executed on apartments and vehicles based on leads that were developed and tips received from the GBI Tip Line.”

Investigators are still looking for Richardson’s 1997 gold Toyota Corolla with Georgia tag RTJ6295. They believe Richardson and Campbell were in the vehicle the night before their bodies were discovered.


 

Richardson, who was set to graduate Saturday from Armuchee High School in Rome, was in the car when she left her mother’s house that night. 

“She pulled out of the yard and I said, ‘You better make it back in tonight,’” Vanita Allen said in an interview with Channel 2. 

Principal John Rhodarmer told the news station that the school will have a 30-second moment of silence in honor of Richardson during Saturday’s graduation ceremony.

“Our students, first of all, have felt this,” he said. “Vanita was well liked and loved by her peers and classmates.”

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