COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. (WRIC) — The death of a 60-year-old Colonial Heights man allegedly murdered by his own son has sent shockwaves around the community.
Robert Conklin is dead and his 24-year-old son Langdon Conklin, of Dinwiddie, is charged with first-degree murder. Police said the suspect was released from jail on gun theft charges just hours before the murder.
Shock and disbelief lingers in the Colonial Heights neighborhood.
“For something so vicious to take place right underneath your nose, right in the middle of your sleep,” said neighbor Natasha Jackson. “That’s a shock. A big shock.”
Neighbors told 8News that Robert Conklin, known as Bob, was well known in the community. He was retired, president of his homeowners association, head of the neighborhood watch group and someone who worked with police to make neighborhoods safer. He had also just recently laid his wife to rest after she died of breast cancer.
The murder happened in the victim’s home near the 200 block of Woodbridge road, according to police. Authorities say the death was just the horrid ending in a series of recent incidents involving Langdon Conklin.
Authorities said L. Conklin was arrested Wednesday after stealing guns from his father’s home. Later, a magistrate released him on an unsecured bond and give him a court date.
On Thursday, Colonial Heights police told 8News they had been called to the same home at least one other time for “a disturbance” before this week.
Considering what eventually happened, some neighbors question the magistrate’s decision.
“More consideration should have been taken when making that decision apparently. Now we have lives that are lost. It’s just sad. It’s tragic,” Jackson said. She lives down the street from where the murder happened.
“I think stuff like that needs to be taken seriously. I don’t think the magistrate took it serious enough,” she said.
Colonial Heights police wouldn’t comment on the magistrate’s decision. However, they said police are just as horrified as the community is. “We didn’t know it was… going to lead up to this,” Colonial Heights Police Major William Anspach said.
Just about five hours after his release, around 3:30 a.m., authorities said another family member in the home called to report a burglary.
Langdon Conklin had broken in.
Officers said when they approached the house and saw a suspicious vehicle leaving. Some of them pursued the car while the others rushed to the home. L. Conklin was behind the wheel.
Police chased him all the way from the home to I-95 northbound, to near the intersection of State Road 288 and Hull street road, where he was then arrested without incident. The other officers found Bob Conklin dead inside his home.
Authorities said the father and son had some difficulties in their relationship, but investigators are trying to determine the motive.
“I really don’t know if we’ll get any answers that explain what happened today,” said Major Anspach.
However, he said the suspect is cooperating with police.
Quite a few details, including exactly how Bob Conklin died, are still unclear. A source familiar with the situation told 8News the victim had been beaten. A medical examiner will determine the official cause of death.
“The way this happened, with a family member being accused of this kind of crime, it’s tragic,” Anspach said. “Our hearts go out to the family.”
Police said the family member who called to report the burglary was not harmed.
Langdon M. Conklin has been charged with first-degree murder, breaking and entering with a deadly weapon and grand larceny.
Conklin is being held at Riverside Regional Jail without bond pending his next court appearance in Colonial Heights Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court on March 5.
Virginia State Police and Chesterfield County Police assisted in the pursuit.