New Information in Jeremy Leaphart's Murder Investigation
Tue, 05 Feb 2008 03:40:04 GMT —
An update in the Jeremy Leaphart case. Police have arrested their eighth, and they say final, suspect in the Batesburg-Leesville man's kidnapping and murder.
The case dates back to Christmas Eve. Investigators say four men kidnapped Leaphart on Haven Road in Batesburg-Leesville. Then called his family to demand a ransom. That was the last time Leapheart was heard from.
Police found his body on January 22nd off Dozier Road in Batesburg-Leesville. Tonight family and friends-- are comforted to know another suspect is behind bars, but as Brandie Siebel reports, a cousing and family friend still thinks there are others out there who know what really happened to their loved one.
Another arrest doesn't provide any more answers to Jeremy Leaphart's family and friends. The question still remains: why was someone they call a caring, trusting friend killed in a dispute over guns? And why was he even involved?
Police have charged eight men in Leaphart's kidnapping and death, but that still hasn't brought any closure.
Jeremy's cousin, Christy Rodgers Kennedy says, "we want the guns found. We want justice to be served for Jeremy. We feel like the eighth one being caught is a big relief, but we don't feel that it's completely over with until the guns are found."
Christy Rogers Kennedy spends her free time looking for information, talking to people on the street, and trying to tie up the loose ends.
Police say twenty year old Jeremy Leaphart was entrusted with some guns. They were lost and when Leaphart couldn't come up with cash to replace them, he was kidnapped and shot several times. His body then dumped outside a house in Batesburg-Leesville.
Johnnie Walker is the eighth suspect charged in the case, the twenty-eight year old was arrested over the weekend.
Rodgers Kennedy says, "to have something like this happen, and everybody in the community knew Jeremy and knew that he had a heart of gold. Jeremy just so wanted to belong."
She says he was a kind, sweet person despite some limitations.
"Jeremy was born mentally challenged and a lot of people wondered. For example, not to be made fun of by any means, but he stuttered, Five minutes around Jeremy and you knew that he wasn't...you know...I can't think of the right word to say," says Rodgers-Kennedy.
Rodgers Kennedy says the most important thing for people to realize is that Jeremy's mental disabilities made him very vulnerable and an easy victim to pray on.
Three other men arrested in the case: Sheldon Oakman, Ronnie Bowers, Jr and Frankie Gantt all face additional charges tonight.