In February 1949, long before there was a Reston, a double homicide was committed in the Green Forest nudist colony, which, today, is located where the Reston South Park and Ride commuter parking lot sits at the intersection of Reston Parkway and Lawyers Road.
Charles Holober of Washington, D.C., later confessed to shooting his wife and burying his infant daughter alive there. Dubbed the “laughing killer” by the media because of his apparent lack of remorse, Holober was declared insane and remanded to the Southwestern State Mental Hospital in Marion, Va., for the rest of his life.
Dwight Lee Hubbard, 76, of Fairfax Station remembers the incident.
“I was just a kid of 13, but it was all over the newspapers and the story was even later published in ‘Crime Detective’ magazine,” he said.
The killings stuck with Hubbard, who in 1954 graduated from Fairfax High School, and in 1956 joined the Fairfax County Police Department after training with the FBI as a fingerprint examiner.
Hubbard retired as a lieutenant in 1979, and today is part of a small group of fellow retired county officers that soon will open a Fairfax County Police museum dedicated to the department, which was created in July 1940.
Hubbard, along with 2nd lieutenant Daniel Courtney, civilian volunteer Daniel Cronin, and captains Paul Puff and Eddie Wingo, have accumulated memorabilia since 2006.
The group has stored the items inside two first-floor rooms within the Massey building’s police headquarters.
Wingo died in 2008, but the others estimate they now are only months away from being able to schedule public viewings of the artifacts, including the front page of the Feb. 28, 1949, Times Herald newspaper showing Holober being booked for murder.
Other items include thousands of photos, vintage police uniforms, firearms, patches, radar guns, polygraph equipment, and even the tail of a police helicopter that flew on a 9/11 mission in 2001.
“One of the personal items that I donated is a nightstick that contains a tear-gas canister inside it,” Hubbard said. “You wouldn’t be allowed to use something like that today.”
Courtney, a 27-year veteran, said a more public version of the museum eventually will be set up in a room now used by the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Department, which will be moving in a few years to a new facility. The museum’s current incarnation is being funded by sales of Courtney’s 219-page book, “History of the Fairfax County Police Department, 1921-1990.”
“Both the book and the museum project was a group effort,” he said. “We all have a great general interest in history, and particularly law enforcement history. There so far has not been a comprehensive effort to preserve the history of the Fairfax County Police Department, so we set out to do it.”
In doing so, Courtney said throughout the years he and the group were able to meet with dozens of retired officers and their families who recalled hundreds of stories, and donated or loaned many items to the project.
“One of the most interesting items to me is called a ‘pen register’ that reportedly came from the CIA and aided police detectives in tapping phone lines,” he said.
According to Courtney, before the 1967 Supreme Court case Katz v. United States, it was legal for detectives to tap phone lines with the approval of the commonwealth’s attorney.
“What Dan Courtney and this group are doing is incredible,” said Fairfax County Deputy Chief of Police Lt. Col. Ed Roessler. “In addition to providing the public with a history of the department, it is also a great learning tool for younger officers to understand the people, procedures and equipment that were here before them, and that helped the department get to where it is today.”