Date: January 9, 2015
Case: Joseph Leonard
Prosecutor: Deputy District Attorney Amy Holliday, Major Crimes Unit
District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert announced today that the Honorable Steve White sentenced Joseph Leonard 32 years to life plus an additional 8 years in state prison.
On November 20, 2014, a jury convicted Leonard of the first-degree murder of Toussaint Harrison and the attempted murder of Justin Oliphant. The jury also found true allegations that Leonard committed these crimes due to bias against the ethnicity of the victims, and that Leonard used his vehicle as a deadly and dangerous weapon during the commission of each offense.
On June 6, 2013, Leonard confronted the two African-American victims in the parking lot of the McDonald’s at Arden Way and Howe Avenue after observing them speak briefly to Leonard’s Caucasian female companion. After a short altercation, Leonard drove through the parking lots of several businesses in an attempt to hit Mr. Oliphant with his truck. Mr. Oliphant was able to get out of the way and avoid being hit. Leonard then struck Mr. Harrison with his truck causing severe head injuries, which resulted in his death two days later. Mr. Oliphant and other witnesses reported they heard Leonard use racial slurs toward the victims before and after the crimes.
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