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A New Orleans man is accused of a triple homicide after two children and his girlfriend were found bludgeoned to death with a hammer.
Terrance Leonard, 33, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, and obstruction of justice. Leonard is believed to have killed his girlfriend Kristina Riley, 32, her 10-year-old son Ayden Riley, and her 9-year-old niece De’ryona Encalade. He is also believed to have severely injured two other children of Riley's, 14-year-old Nashawna Riley, and 12-year-old Adrianna Riley, during the spree.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joseph Lopinto described the crime as "a gruesome scene" in an update he gave Thursday
“We’re talking about blunt force trauma to each of the individuals," Lopinto said, according to NOLA.com.
Leonard has confessed to attacking the children while they slept, according to the sheriff's office. Leonard said that he then waited for his girlfriend to come home from work at 2 a.m., and attacked her as well. No signs of struggle was present at the scene; all the victims showed signs of head trauma believed to have been caused by a hammer.
Lopinto says that Leonard then hid the hammer in a trash can and attempted to clean up the blood before fleeing the scene, according to WWLTV of New Orleans. He added that Leonard told authorities he was under the influence of narcotics at the time of the attack, but police have not identified a motive.
Leonard left the home and then returned at 7 a.m. with his mother, who called the police. That's when Leonard was arrested.
Family members of the victims said that Riley had attempted to break off her relationship with Leonard in the past. A neighbor told deputies that she'd heard arguing shortly before the crime allegedly occurred but had not notified police.
Nashawna and Adrianna are currently in critical condition. The former's status has not improved since the attack; the latter is showing signs of progress. The were not immediately told of the deaths of their family members.
Leonard’s bond has been set at $750,000 for each count of attempted murder and $50,000 for obstruction of justice. He has been previously arrested for narcotics possession and distribution, second-degree battery, simple battery, and several offenses against law enforcement.
Lopinto, who described the crime as "pure evil," believes Leonard should be sentenced harshly.
“This person should never see the light of day," Lopinto said at a press conference. "The first chance he gets to be off of this Earth, I’m OK with that.”
[Photo: Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office via AP]
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