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'Pure evil': Sheriff says man killed children with hammer, waited in home to kill girlfriend

Jefferson Parish jail records show 33-year-old Terrance Leonard was booked on three counts first-degree murder Wednesday.

TERRYTOWN, La. — A man has been booked on murder charges after confessing to killing two children and a woman with a hammer in their Terrytown home Wednesday.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joseph Lopinto announced Thursday that 33-year-old Terrance Leonard has been booked with three counts of first degree murder, two counts of attempted first degree murder and one count of obstruction of justice.  

RELATED: Suspect confesses to Terrytown murders, Sheriff says

According to the sheriff's office, Leonard admitted to attacking the children as they slept and then waiting for his girlfriend, Kristina Riley, until she came home around 2 a.m. after getting off from work to kill her.  All of the children suffered head trauma. Investigators believe he used a hammer to attack them. 

According to Lopinto, Leonard hid the hammer in an nearby trash can and tried to clean the blood from the attacks before leaving.  

The children have been identified as 10-year-old Ayden Riley, the son of Kristina Riley, and 9-year-old De'ryona Encalade, the niece of Kristina Riley. The two surviving victims, who are currently in critical condition, have been identified as Kristina Riley's 14-year-old and 12-year-old daughters.

Credit: WWLTV

Wednesday morning, deputies were called to the home in the 900 block of Monterey Court in Terrytown around 7 a.m. for "medical assistance." When they entered the home, deputies found Riley and the two children dead inside. The two other children were taken to an area hospital.

PREVIOUSLY: JPSO: Suspect in custody after 3 people, including 2 children, murdered in Terrytown home

Leonard came back to the scene with his mother Wednesday morning. According to Lopinto, Leonard's mother called police once she heard of the deaths, not knowing her son committed them. Lopinto said he believes Leonard returned to the scene to appear to have an alibi. 

The sheriff's office says he does not believe there was a motive at this time. Lopinto noted that Leonard told deputies he was under the influence of narcotics at the time the murders were committed.

A neighbor told deputies she heard arguing late Wednesday night, around the time Riley arrived, however the neighbor did not call police. 

Riley's mother told WWL-TV earlier Thursday she wants to seek the death penalty for her daughter's death. When asked he if supports that, Lopinto said, "The answer is yes. This person should never see the light of day." 

Leonard’s bond was set at $750,000 for each count of attempted murder and $50,000 for obstruction of justice. He was held without bond for the three first-degree murder counts and is being represented by the Jefferson Parish public defender’s office.

According to JPSO, Leonard has an extensive criminal history that includes arrests for narcotics possession and distribution, second degree battery, simple battery, and several offenses against law enforcement. 

RELATED: Man who confessed to killing woman, two children, has over a dozen convictions, records show


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