Lessons for Holy Week

By Harry M. Covert

Since my earliest days on this planet the oft-used word “luck” has always been considered a blessing from the Divine. Nothing has changed that since those formative times. If anything the celestial consents seem more obvious.

During these days leading up to Easter Sunday, described as Holy Week, they are perfect to recall and celebrate the triumphal ride of Jesus into Jerusalem. Tradition, beliefs and dogma say the event occurred some two thousand years ago.

Admittedly this time of year brings about many fresh and pleasant days, new fashions and all sorts of smiles and joy. It is the happiness of candies, colored eggs, candy-filled baskets and terrific lunches and dinners.… Read More

Murder Cases Get Cold, Colder

Local News Blackout Possible

By Harry M. Covert

There’s no time like the present. Those hoping for quick solutions to the recent Alexandria murders now will just have to wait. For how long? Not even police investigators can provide any progress reports or answers, at least not this week or in the foreseeable future.

What may seem to be a police blackout is not that at all.

All the excitement that a possible “person of interest,” not officially a police portrayal, or a real “suspect,” the preferred description, appears to have vanished into thin air.

Remember reports that a former independent mayoral candidate, Charles R.… Read More

Who’s the Triple Murder Suspect?

Police Investigators Appear Stymied

By Harry M. Covert

The best news source and report in the Alexandria murder cases apparently come from West Virginia.

Investigators locally may have hit a stone wall, again in the Ruthanne Lodato murder. They’ve been stymied for some time now in the November shooting death of Ronald Kirby and the Dec. 5 2003 killing of Nancy Dunning.

No facts seem to be forthcoming.

Each of these is the highest of the highest profile cases in the city which occurred in the Del Ray section. Obviously prosecutors can’t and won’t comment on the probe. Police officials repeat the words “nothing has changed on our end.”

Last week, the media was all agog on a “person of interest” nabbed sitting in a public library in Wheeling, WVA, not on a warrant issued by Alexandria’s magistrate’s office.… Read More

Campaigns, Down & Dirty?­­­­

By Harry M. Covert

The fact is well known, all politics is local. ­­­­­The good things of public service should rise bottom to top, and not the reverse. It’s not good when outside and national consultants like to infringe. They do and the landscape changes.

Tactics used by so-called campaign experts on how to win elections are not always good and proper. Political advisers are a special breed. They have nothing to lose while the candidate always bears the brunt of nasty work and any untoward comments and quotes.

Of course, reporters of all sorts love them, including “moi.”

Oh yes, Certainly, campaigns for city and county offices are heavily partisan.… Read More

The Ralph E. Haines Jr. Story

Proud to be a General, Proud to be a Private

By Harry M. Covert

Ralph Haines enjoyed weekly and monthly breakfasts and lunches. Attendance, even though not required, usually was filled to capacity.  

He could have been mistaken for a traveling Baptist evangelist.       

He was a serious practicing charismatic Christian, an Episcopalian, to be exact. When he boomed “Amens” the choruses followed by large audience responses. If he raised his arms during remarks similar displays would follow.  

Who was Ralph E. Haines Jr.? He was a Texan, a four-star general in the U. S. Army who served as vice chief of staff, the Pacific commander and commanding general of the Continental Army Command (CONARC) at Fort Monroe, Va., where he retired in 1973. 

He was no shrinking violet in any sense of the word.… Read More

Alexandria Reeling From Serial Killer

Why Not Recall Retired Homicide Detectives

By Harry M. Covert

Since retired judges are always available for further bench duty why aren’t retired detectives and other officers accessible for recalled duty?

Retirees, many of whom find similar work at other city and state agencies, have the ability and know-how and could be recruited to assist in major cases. These professionals can bring valuable assets by assisting in difficult cases.

Alexandria is not without many outstanding retired detectives. At least five have retired in recent years and their successes are respected and well known throughout the court system, police department and other law enforcement organizations.… Read More