(June 15, 2012) The man accused of a triple murder at an off-campus party at Auburn University was denied bail and could face the death penalty if convicted.
Desmonte Leonard, 22, turned himself into authorities June 12 after local, national and federal authorities began a manhunt. He allegedly opened fire at the June 9 party, killing three people and wounded three others.
Among the three people killed were Ladarious Phillips and Ed Christian, two players on the Auburn football team. Auburn head coach Gene Chizik said that the community in Auburn is going through a trying time right now.
“The whole Auburn community, the whole Auburn family is devastated in the passing of three young men,” Chizik said at a press conference June 12. “We’re devastated that two of the young men we obviously know very well, Ladarious Phillips and Ed Christian. It’s just hard to put into words the difficulty that a lot of people are facing right now.”
Eric Mack, another Auburn football player, was treated for non-life-threatening injuries and released from the hospital.
Meanwhile, Leonard’s attorney wants his trial moved. Susan James said she believes it would be difficult for Leonard to get a fair trial because of the media attention the shootings have received.
“We need to get the trial out of Lee County,” James said according to the Associated Press. “There’s so much interest in that there.”
The third man killed was Demario Pitts. Xavier Moss was treated and released with non-life-threatening injuries, while another man, John Robertson, remains in critical condition.
Two other men, Gabriel Thomas, 41, and Jeremy Thomas, 18, have been charged with first-degree hindering prosecution during the manhunt in the Auburn case.