Lancaster County jury delivers death verdict to Leeton Thomas
LANCASTER — A Lancaster County jury found Leeton Thomas guilty Tuesday of all counts regarding the June 2015 stabbing deaths of an East Drumore Township woman and her daughter during an early-morning break-in that severely injured the woman’s other daughter, the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office reported.
The jury deliberated for about 2 1/2 hours before deciding the case at about 2:30 p.m.
The panel of seven women and five men convicted Thomas, 40, of:
- 2 counts of 1st-degree murder
- 1 count of attempted homicide
- 1 count of burglary
The attack occurred on June 11, 2015. Assistant District Attorney Christopher P. Larsen told the jury that Thomas cut a window in the screen of the victim’s home, entered, and then brutally stabbed the victim and her two daughters. Larsen called the killings “assassinations” to avoid pending prosecution for the alleged sex abuse of a girl.
The surviving daughter, now 17, testified during the trial and identified Thomas, who she knew as “Pie,” as the killer.
After the penalty hearing Wednesday morning, the jury returned with a sentence of death for Thomas.
At the hearing, Larsen outlined five “aggravating factors” for the jury to take into consideration while deciding the sentence:
- Thomas killed witnesses in a separate criminal prosecution (his pending sex-abuse case)
- Thomas committed the killing(s) during the commission of another felony (burglary)
- Thomas killed multiple people
- Thomas broke a court order (a no-contact order) during the killings
- Thomas presented a grave risk of death to another individual (the 15-year-old girl) besides those he killed
“The defendant thought he could avoid the consequences of his actions by committing these horrible, vile murders and attempted murder. However, the diligent work of the Pennsylvania State Police, especially Corporal Todd McCurdy, saw to it that he would be held fully accountable,” Larsen said Wednesday night. “The strength of the surviving victim and the voices of her deceased sister and mother, who spoke through evidence presented at trial, were instrumental in bringing him to justice.”
“The jury’s verdict is the only right and just verdict for a case as disturbing as this.”
Thomas will be formally sentenced Friday morning by Lancaster County President Judge Dennis Reinaker.