The man, who has been identified as 33-year-old Terrance Leonard, apparently bludgeoned Kristina Riley and two other children present at a suburban New Orleans apartment.
A man has been arrested after he killed a woman and two children with a hammer. The man, who has been identified as 33-year-old Terrance Leonard, apparently bludgeoned Kristina Riley and two other children present at a suburban New Orleans apartment. As per reports, two other children were also present in the apartment, but currently, remain hospitalized following the vicious attack.
The two children that survived the attack have been identified as two of the deceased victim's daughters. Kristina Riley, 32, lost her life along with her 10-year-old-son Ayden Riley and her niece, 9-year-old De'ryona Enclade. Riley's other two daughters, aged 12 and 14, are said to be in the hospital in critical condition. Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joseph Lopinto confirmed that Leonard was arrested on charges that also include first-degree murder.
As per the investigator's statement, Kristina Riley was not at home during the attack. Lopinto stated that the investigators hypothesized that the children were attacked while they were still in bed, while they were asleep. They assumed that the attacks took place between midnight and 2 a.m. "It didn't appear that there was any struggle from any of the locations where the children were," he said.
Leonard admitted his crimes to the investigators. The disturbed man said that he waited for Riley to come home and then went on to kill her at around 2 a.m. Neighbors reported hearing arguments from the apartment, but they did not call the police. However, police did receive a call at 7 a.m to Riley's apartment, where Leonard also lived. The unknown caller told the authorities that there were people who required medical attention in the apartment as well.
Lopinto said that authorities were greeted with a 'gruesome' scene and that Leonard was immediately detained at the crime scene itself. He became the primary suspect as the investigation progressed. As per Lopinto's statements at the news conference, Leonard confessed to the crime as soon as he was arrested. Detectives were also able to locate the hammer which was used by Leonard in a garbage can after he told the authorities where to find the murder weapon.
Leonard told investigators that he was heavily under the influence of drugs when he committed the murder. But Riley's believes that his daughter was trying to break up with Leonard. But Lopinto clarified the fact that it was not motive for Leonard to kill Riley. The suspect immediately told arresting officers that he was under the influence of cocaine when they arrived at the scene. "I really don't believe that there was a motive in this," said Lopinto. "There's a lot of people under the influence of narcotics and this is not a normal situation."
There was no history of domestic violence between the couple, but Leonard does currently face some heavy-handed charges for the crimes. He is currently being held without bond on the murder charges. Leonard has also been charged with attempted first-degree murder as well as obstruction of justice for hiding the hammer and attempting to clean up the scene. Leonard's attorney was not available to give a statement on behalf of his client.
Leonard's first-degree murder charge may carry a possibility of a death sentence. Currently, the authorities have no idea about the kind of penalty that would be handed to Leonard. Lopinto, however, revealed that he would support the death penalty decision if it ever came down to it. "I don't normally get involved with the penalty, by any means. That's going to be a decision of the jury and the judge," he said "Would I support it? The answer is yes."