AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - Desmonte Leonard has been found guilty in the capital murders of DeMario Pitts of Opelika and former Auburn football players Ed Christian and Ladarious Phillips.
It took the Lee County jury about five hours to find Leonard guilty on all but one of the six charges stemming from a deadly shooting that killed three men and injured three more at the University Heights Apartment complex back in June 2012.
On Tuesday, Oct. 7 Leonard was found guilty of the following charges:
Assault 2nd degree for shooting Eric Mack
Assault 2nd degree for shooting Xavier Moss
Assault 1st degree for shooting John Robertson
Attempted murder of DeAngelo Benton
Capital murder for killing two or more people in the same act
Leonard was found not guilty for the attempted murder of Turquorius Vines.
We spoke with DeMario Pitt's sister Sharonda Woods soon after the verdict was reached, who said she is relieved that the ordeal is over.
"I'm really just glad it's over," Woods said. "It's really been draining us having to relive this. I'm happy with the verdict, but it doesn't bring him back."
The district attorney says they will not comment until after Leonard is sentenced. We did speak Leonard's defense attorney Susan James about their reaction.
Jury will begin the sentencing phase Wednesday morning and will recommended life in prison or the death penalty. The judge will make the ultimate decision on sentencing.
The investigation and trial of the Desmonte Leonard shooting has spanned the last two years, and News Leader 9 has been following the case from the beginning.
June 9, 2012 – mass shooting at University Heights apartment complex kills three Auburn University football players and injures three other men.
June 12, 2012 – Desmonte Leonard turns himself into authorities after being named a suspect
June 13, 2012 – Leonard makes first court appearance, enters no plea
August 2012 – Leonard is indicted on six counts, including capital murder
Sept. 29, 2014 – Capital murder trial against Leonard begins with opening statements
October 3, 2014 - Leonard takes the stand in his own defense