NEW ORLEANS -- Police have charged Shawn Peterson -- the father of one of the victims -- in the triple murder that left a police dispatcher and her two adult children dead, according to New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Ronal Serpas.
Serpas said arrest is the result of relentless detective work.
It's an emotional development for the victim's family, who say Peterson denied his involvement, even in the hours leading up to his arrest.
As hundreds lit candles in memory of NOPD dispatcher Christine George and her two children, Trisa, 20, and Leonard, 18, police were booking the man accused of murdering them.
“There’s no question that he committed this murder in our view,” Serpas said.
Peterson, 41, is behind bars, charged with three counts of first-degree murder. He is was Christine George’s live-in boyfriend and the father of Leonard George.
“He was in my face, acted like he didn’t do it, and I just feel so betrayed because he knew what was going on, with the family,” said Deja Walls, the pregnant girlfriend of Leonard George. “He just took their life like that.”
George and her two children were found shot to death inside their Gentilly garage. A week later, family members learned of Peterson’s arrest just before a planned vigil at the crime scene.
“To get that phone call, it almost killed me,” said Patrick Preston, Christine George’ brother. “I was driving on the interstate trying to get here for this vigil when I received that phone call, and I almost had an accident.”
NOPD originally questioned Peterson last Thursday, but released him because they didn’t have enough probable cause.
But detectives working around the clock have since secured additional evidence and checked out his alibi, leading to the arrest.
“Three people killed in any event shocks the conscience of a community,” Serpas said. “These detectives, I’m very proud to say, never stopped and worked all the way through tonight to make this arrest.”
Serpas said Peterson has a lengthy criminal record that includes domestic violence against previous girlfriends. Detectives believe Peterson also abused Christine George in the past, but many of those incidents went unreported.
Now a grieving family tries to cope with the loss of a mother and her two children.
“He assured that me he had nothing to do with this and up till today I believed him,” Preston said. “To find out otherwise, it was a lie, I’m heartbroken, because there’s a big, big part of my life that was taken from me.”
Still, family members say they pray for Peterson and they forgive him.
The funeral for Christine, Trisa, and Leonard George will be held Sept. 27 at New Home for Full Gospel Ministries at 10 a.m.
If you would like to contribute to funeral expenses, you can do so at any Whitney Bank.