North Bay Village murder suspect mails himself evidence
Police say Dwayne Lebarr Jr. sent himself a package containing the bloody clothes he wore during the slaying of his lover.
07/21/2012 5:00 AM
07/21/2012 9:18 PM
Dwayne Lebarr Jr., police say, strangled and beat his older lover to death inside a North Bay Village apartment, and later drove to a UPS packaging store to do something even more unexpected.
He mailed himself the key evidence.
According to a newly released court documents, Lebarr sent himself a package containing the bloody clothes detectives believe he wore last month when he allegedly killed Craig Douglas Wolfe, 63.
Detectives intercepted the package, which also contained a laptop police believe Lebarr stole from Wolfe.
The blood-stained clothes and electronics, also including a camera police believe he bought with Wolfe’s money, are now crucial evidence in the murder case against Lebarr.
But Lebarr, 18, is a fugitive and is believed to be hiding somewhere in South Florida.
“The items we recovered suggest that Lebarr Jr. was attempting to conceal critical evidence related to the crime, however, we are still actively investigating this case,” said Miami-Dade Detective Roy Rutland, a police spokesman.
The strange murder case — in a village that logs few homicides — is detailed in an arrest warrant released by Miami-Dade prosecutors.
The victim: Wolfe, 63, a California native and one-time rock-loving hippie who spent the 60s and 70s in San Francisco and lived in Hawaii, Texas and Tampa, where he worked as a mortgage underwriter.
While in Houston, Wolfe worked as a vice president of loss mitigation for Franklin Bank, which collapsed because of toxic mortgages during the economic meltdown in 2008. His internal “whistleblower” letter detailed shoddy accounting at the financial lending institution and later became part of a class-action lawsuit against the bank’s top executives.
While that lawsuit ultimately failed, the Securities and Exchange Commission in April filed suit against the defunct company’s former executives, saying they lied about their financial losses.
Wolfe, according to his family, considered writing a book about the behind-the-scenes drama surrounding the company’s collapse. Wolfe later moved to Tampa, and then North Bay Village, where he worked underwriting mortgages and took up boating and fishing.
“He really liked being by the water,” said his brother, John Wolfe, of Woodbury, Mass. “Sadly, he was the happiest he had ever been. He was very content.”
Wolfe lived in a dated apartment building at 7931 East Dr., in the three-island village wedged between Miami and Miami Beach. A month before his slaying, he met Lebarr online and “engaged in a relationship with him,” according to a search warrant.
Lebarr was a Central High senior who worked at a local Burger King.
In March, Lebarr was photographed by The Miami Herald as he joined a rally outside the high school for Trayvon Martin, the teen killed in Sanford by a neighborhood watch captain. Lebarr wore a homemade “Justice for Trayvon” shirt adorned with a pack of Skittles, an homage to the candy that the teen had on him when he was killed.
On the afternoon of June 15, Lebarr was the one who called 911 to report he had found Wolfe’s body inside the man’s apartment.
Paramedics found Wolfe’s body — a large cut on his forehead and a ligature mark on his neck — on the dining room floor, a sheet covering him. He claimed that he had last spoke with Wolfe the previous night at about 8 p.m.
But police said that while at the station, Lebarr gave “numerous inconsistencies” and was found with Wolfe’s car keys and cellphone. He also failed a lie-detector test — and when confronted about it, he requested a lawyer and refused to speak any more to investigators, according to the arrest warrant by Detective Rich Raphael.
Detectives allowed Lebarr to leave, but they had plenty of clues to go on.
A neighbor’s surveillance camera captured Lebarr — wearing a burgundy shirt and white pants — coming and going from the apartment the night before the body was discovered, after he claimed he last spoke with Wolfe by phone.
Lebarr’s mother also told police that he left the house that night wearing those same clothes.
Investigators also believed that Lebarr drove Wolfe’s car after the murder, and bought a camera for $577.75 at a downtown Miami electronics store — the receipt was found in Wolfe’s car.
The morning after the killing, records also showed, Lebarr used Wolfe’s credit card to buy food and the electronics, plus new clothes at a local Walmart. Video surveillance captured him in the stores.
Receipts found by police also led detectives to a UPS store in Miami’s Upper Eastside, where the packages were discovered and ultimately searched. The camera was also found in the package that was to be mailed to Lebarr’s home.
Lebarr is being charged with second-degree murder and grand theft.
Join the Discussion
Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.