Desmonte Leonard surrenders to U.S. Marshals - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Desmonte Leonard surrenders to U.S. Marshals

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Desmonte Leonard (Mug shot source: Montgomery Co. Sheriff's Dept.) Desmonte Leonard (Mug shot source: Montgomery Co. Sheriff's Dept.)
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

The man sought for a multi-victim shooting just off of the Auburn University campus last Saturday turned himself to authorities Tuesday evening, WSFA 12 News can confirm.

Details are limited at this time, but Desmonte Leonard, 22, turned himself in at the Montgomery Federal Courthouse.

Leonard obtained the help of high-profile attorney Susan James, who was asked to help facilitate the surrender. James contacted U.S. Marshals and discussed terms for Leonard's surrender.

James told WSFA 12 News that she wanted the surrender to take place in the safest possible manner for everyone. "I felt it was the right thing to do."

When asked why Leonard had decided to surrender, James said, "I think he was just tired...he wanted somebody to tell him what to do." 

James added, "I think when the story is actually told it may come out a little bit different."

James' services were obtained, she said, because of her contacts with U.S. Marshals. She explained that she wanted Leonard to be turned in safely and with dignity.

"I wanted to make sure they could get him into custody without someone trying to take him out…" adding that she asked that there be no media coverage of the arrest.

WSFA 12 News will carry a LIVE news conference from Auburn Police at approximately 9 p.m. That will be carried on-air and online.

WITHIN REACH MONDAY

Authorities believed they had Leonard within reach Monday evening in East Montgomery. Dozens of law enforcement officials from numerous agencies surrounded a house where it was believed the man was hiding. It turned out that the suspect was not inside.

Two other men connected to Leonard were arrested in the past 48 hours and charged with hindering prosecution. Those men, 18-year-old Jeremy Thomas and 41-year-old Gabriel Thomas, were taken into custody in Montgomery and are awaiting transfer back to Auburn.

Leonard was wanted on three capital murder charges for the shooting death of 20-year-old Demario Pitts, 20-year-old Ladarious Phillips and 20-year-old Edward Christian. Leonard is also believed to have wounded 20-year-old John Robertson, 19-year-old Xavier Moss and 20-year-old Eric Mack.

Authorities believe a fight broke out late Saturday night at the University Heights apartments around 10 p.m. in the 200 block of West Longleaf Drive. When officers arrived they found multiple gunshot victims near the apartment clubhouse.

Leonard was believed to have fled the scene with two others in a white Chevrolet Caprice which was later located in the Wire Road area of Macon County. Police believed Leonard fled to his home in the Montgomery area.

Two of the deceased, Phillips and Christian, were former Auburn University football players. One of the injured, Eric Mack, is still listed on the AU Football roster.

In a news conference on Sunday, Auburn Police Chief Tommy Dawson said the whole situation was sad.

"The young men were at a party, and they were shot. It's nothing to their character…it's sickening that these young lives were cut short," explained Dawson. "The only connection that the Auburn Football program has to this is that they are victims of a brutal shooting."

Dawson added that as a society, we've got to "learn the value of life again."

Copyright 2012  WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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