On June 27, 1986, Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) were dispatched to an apartment complex in the 1800 block of Lemon Avenue regarding a shooting victim. Officers found 38-year-old Leotis Green deceased in his apartment from several gunshot wounds. The victim’s apartment had been ransacked, and blood was found on several items in the living room. Blood evidence was also found in other areas inside the apartment, in addition to a blood trail leading from the victim’s front door toward the street.
Homicide detectives responded to the location to begin their investigation. Several individuals were interviewed, and the neighborhood was canvassed for possible witnesses. Forensic specialists also responded to the crime scene, took photographic images of the victim’s residence and collected evidence. Detectives pursued all leads; however, the case remained unsolved for 25 years until advances in DNA technology allowed cold-case detectives to reopen the murder investigation.
Cold-case homicide investigators evaluated unsolved murders to determine which had biological evidence that could benefit from advanced DNA technology, and eligible samples, including evidence from Green’s case, were identified and submitted to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Scientific Services Bureau for DNA testing. A DNA profile was identified, giving new life to an investigation in which all leads had been exhausted.
With this scientific lead, the Cold Case Homicide Unit furthered their investigation into the case, ultimately identifying two suspects responsible for the robbery and murder of Green. It was determined that one of the two suspects, identified as 53-year old Wallace Johnson of Long Beach, had died in 2003.
On March 1, 2012, a second suspect, identified as 49-year-old Anthony Ragsdale, was arrested in the city of Perris, California, his city of residence, for Green’s murder. On March 5, 2012, homicide detectives presented the case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, and in turn, one count of murder and one count of robbery were filed against Ragsdale. He remains in custody at the Los Angeles County Jail in lieu of $1,050,000 bail.
“The Long Beach Police Department is extremely grateful to the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) for providing the grant funding that enabled detectives to utilize the latest in DNA technology,” said Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell. “With NIJ’s assistance, we were able to bring a violent criminal to justice who might have otherwise remained at large, and hopefully provide some closure to Mr. Green’s family.”
The LBPD has been able to continue cold-case investigations utilizing 2009 grant funding and, according to its press release last week, is hopeful that additional cold cases will also be solved.
Anyone with additional information regarding the murder of Leotis Green is asked to contact Long Beach Police Homicide Detectives Malcolm Evans and Todd Johnson at (562) 570-7244. Anonymous tips may be submitted via text or web by visiting tipsoft.com.