RELATIONSHIP HAD TURNED SOUR, COMPLAINT FILED BEFORE SLAYING — (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

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Richmond Times-Dispatch

March 11, 1997

Author: Lorraine Blackwell,  Times-Dispatch Staff Writer

Cynthia Coleman English filed a complaint with the Colonial Heights Police Department two weeks ago against John Arthur Livesay because he was following her after she ended their relationship, authorities said.

On Sunday, Livesay, 32, of the 5400 block of Hickory Road in Chesterfield County, was charged with first-degree murder in her death.   English, 32, of the 3100 block of Western Street in Hopewell, was shot Sunday in the parking lot of Southpark Mall shortly after leaving her job at Whitehall Co. Jewelers about 6 p.m. Shoppers watched as a man shot her in the head while she lay on the ground.  She died a short time later at Southside Regional Medical Center in Petersburg.

Colonial Heights Police Capt. Larry Williams said yesterday that Livesay and English had been dating until she “terminated the relationship, and apparently he did not want to.” English, who had been separated from her husband for a year, ended the relationship with Livesay because she and her husband were planning a reconciliation, her family said. English and her husband, Robert T. English, who had been married for nearly 10 years, have a 3-year-old son.

English’s father-in-law, Edward A. English of Hopewell, said his family didn’t know much about Livesay.  He said Cynthia English and Livesay had been co-workers at Best Products in Colonial Heights before the store closed this year. He said his daughter-in-law went to work at the jewelry store in November and decided to end the relationship with Livesay in January.  Williams said he did not know where Livesay was employed.

He said English told police that Livesay had been harassing her, but she did not take out a warrant. “She could have pressed charges on a stalking complaint, but for whatever reason, she didn’t do it,” he said.   Two hours before the shooting, Livesay went to the jewelry store to see English, who did not want to talk to him, Williams said.

After she left work, Livesay approached English as she left the mall, Williams said. The two begin arguing and he grabbed her arm and pulled her into the parking lot, he said.   Livesay then pushed her to the ground, stood over her and shot her once in the head, Williams said.

About a dozen people, including children, witnessed the slaying, Williams said. “She was screaming, `No, no, no! Let me go!’ ” he said.  Williams said one man tried to block Livesay as he fled the scene, but Livesay aimed the gun at him and the man backed off.   Family members were trying to come to grips with English’s death yesterday.   “She was a wonderful person, and we loved her very much,” said her father-in-law. “You couldn’t have asked for a better daughter-in-law.   “We’re all kind of in a state of shock and disbelief,” he said.

Officials at Whitehall Jewelers brought in other employees from the region to work at the store this week because employees were distraught over English’s death, said an employee who asked not to be identified.  Livesay drove around for two hours after the shooting, Williams said, and called Colonial Heights police numerous times to say he was going to the station to turn himself in. When he finally arrived, he held police at bay for about 40 minutes, Williams said.

Livesay got out of his car with a .380-caliber semiautomatic gun in his hand. The gun was believed to be the murder weapon. He laid the gun on the ground a few feet away and reached for it several times while police tried to negotiate with him, Williams said.   Livesay took two bottles of prescription medicine, believed to be anti-depressants, before he was tackled by police.

He was taken to the hospital so his stomach could be pumped, Williams said.

Record Number:  9703110423