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UPDATED: Grandson charged with killing Campbell County couple

John and Virginia Philbrook were found dead at their home on Sleepy Hollow Road Friday. Both had been shot.

February 20, 2013|Tim Saunders | Reporter/Lynchburg Bureau Chief
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RUSTBURG, Va. — The grandson of a couple who were murdered last week has been arrested for their killings.

Robert Philbrook is in custody for the deaths of John and Virginia Philbrook.

John and Virginia Philbrook were found dead on Feb. 15 in their Sleepy Hollow Road home, a few miles outside of Lynchburg. Both died of gunshot wounds. John Philbrook was found dead in the living room, and Virginia Philbrook was found shot to death in a bedroom.

Investigators say Philbrook lived with his grandparents, and was raised by them for the majority of his life. Robert Philbrook, 27, was arrested at Lynchburg General Hospital at 4 p.m. Tuesday. Campbell County Chief Deputy LT Guthrie would not say why Philbrook was at the hospital.

Deputies say there were no signs of forced entry and it didn't appear that there had been a struggle.

"There were signs that someone had been in the home, but I couldn't say that it looked like there had been a confrontation of any kind," Guthrie said during an 11 a.m. news conference.

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Robert Philbrook has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of using a firearm in commission of a felony, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He was arraigned Wednesday morning.

 “We are certainly thankful to make an arrest as quickly as we did,” Guthrie said.

Investigators believe the murders happened on February 12. After the killings, deputies believe Philbrook left the area and went to Charlotte, N.C. They also believe he returned to Lynchburg sometime around February 15.

Philbrook lived with his grandparents as a teenager while he attended Brookville High School. At some point after high school he moved to Charlotte, N.C., for a job. However, Philbrook moved back in with his grandparents in November of 2012, according to investigators.

Philbrook was previously convicted of a felony. Guthrie did not know the nature of Philbrook's previous felony conviction.

Click here to watch Wednesday's news conference.

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UPDATED: We're expecting to learn more soon about a double murder in Campbell County.

WDBJ7 will live stream a news conference at 11 a.m. Wednesday morning. Click here around 11 a.m. to watch the news conference.

John and Virginia Philbrook were found shot to death in their home Friday.

Authorities have said so far that they were targeted and their deaths were not random.

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As they look through an old church directory, Don and Anna Lee Meade reminisce about a couple from their congregation that made a huge impact on their life.

"They were very thoughtful and caring," said Anna Lee Meade.  "A good Christian family."

John and Virginia Philbrook lived right down the street from the Meade's.  The two families met 20 years ago at Calvary Baptist Church.

"I though a lot of John, ever since we first met him," said Don Meade.  "He's helped me in various times and I've helped him."

John, a retired police officer from New Jersey, was known to walk the neighborhood with his pugs.

"They had three little dogs and they were their babies," Anna Lee Meade said.

When he wasn't home, John spent time delivering food for Meals on Wheels.  Virginia stayed busy knitting

"She has made me at least four afghans," said Anna Lee Meade.  "She even made afghans for our little Pomeranian dog that we have."

She was in the process of making another one for the Meades, but that project will stay unfinished.

The Philbrook's were found dead at their home on Sleepy Hollow Road Friday.  Both had been shot.

"It is very hard to give up your friends and neighbors, and to know that something this bad or tragic happened to them," said Anna Lee Meade.

Investigators say the Philbrook's death wasn't a random act.  They don't believe anyone else in the neighborhood is in danger, but that hasn't provided much comfort for the Meade's.

They've lost their friends and their sense of security.

"Really it has unnerved us quite a bit, because you feel that loss," said Anna Lee Meade.

Neighbors of the Philbrook's say the couple was living with their adult grandson.  When a WDBJ7 crew stopped by the Philbrook's home Monday, the grandson was not home.

Family members from North Carolina were cleaning the house, but they didn't want to comment on the investigation.

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