Two Virginia men charged in connection to murder-for-hire case from 23 years ago

arlington cold case
Source: Arlington police

Nov. 22 2021, Published 9:23 a.m. ET

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After more than 20 years, police say they have arrested two men in connection to a cold-case homicide.

Recently, the Arlington County Police Department’s Cold Case Unit charged James Christopher Johnson, 59, of Alexandria, and Bobby Joe Leonard, 53, in connection to the murder of Andrea Cincotta.

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On Aug. 21, 1998, 52-year-old Cincotta was found dead inside the bedroom of the apartment she shared with Johnson in the 1700 block of North Rhodes Street in the Colonial Village neighborhood.

There was no forced entry to the home and no obvious signs of a struggle, but the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled her death a homicide. Police said Cincotta was strangled, and her body had been stuffed in a closet.

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The Cold Case Unit took a fresh look into the unsolved homicide, including the review of cold case files, crime scene evidence, laboratory results, and additional witness interviews In 2013. Authorities collaborated with the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney and secured indictments from a grand jury.


“The passage of time does not diminish the need for answers and accountability in this senseless crime that took Andrea’s life,” Chief Andy Penn said in a statement.

“The indictments are the culmination of years of dedicated investigative work in our ongoing pursuit of justice on behalf of Andrea and her family.”

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“I’m proud of the work we have done in obtaining indictments in a case for which Andrea’s family has been seeking accountability since 1998,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti said in a press release.

Johnson was Cincotta’s live-in fiancé, and the two had been together for seven years at the time of the murder. Authorities said Johnson hired Leonard to kill Cincotta, according to The Washington Post.

Johnson is being held without bond at the Arlington County Detention Center and Leonard is being held serving a life sentence at Wallens Ridge State Prison, after he was convicted in the violent 1999 rape of a 13-year-old girl, who he assaulted and left for dead, according to KIRO 7 News


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