Details outlined in Leager manslaughter case

DOVER — A 21-year-old Dover man charged with manslaughter after a reported 2015 home invasion allegedly later said he did not realize he had shot a woman when firing into a suspects’ vehicle, according to police in court documents.

Jacob H. Leager was arrested Thursday after investigation into an incident at Rodney Village on Oct. 17 that left his 52-year-old father and a 21-year-old Philadelphia woman dead, Delaware State Police announced.

Authorities alleged Mr. Leager picked up a handgun dropped by one of two suspects fleeing his home at 1461 John Clark Road, chased them until he arrived at a vehicle near 60 Johns Collins Circle, opened the door and fired inside.

04dsn Jacob H. Leager by .

Jacob H. Leger

Police said Haley Henwood was wounded fatally in the alleged sequence that unfolded at approximately 1:35 a.m.

In an affidavit of probable cause, a State Police Homicide Unit investigator wrote that “acquaintances advised that they spoke to Leager approximately three weeks after the home invasion and he provided details of the incident.

“They advised that Jacob admitted locating the suspects’ vehicle and firing a gun into same. They advised that Jacob realized after firing the gun that he shot the female victim.

“They advised that Jacob told them that he ran from that location and threw the gun on the roof of a nearby house. It should be noted that some of the details presented by Jacob to those persons had not yet been released to the media or made public through court testimony.”

Police also noted Mr. Leager said “that he picked the gun up and fired it from his back steps,” during a recorded interview under Miranda and “Jacob stated that he then dropped the gun and chased after the suspects.

“Jacob stated that he saw the suspects enter a black Jeep but advised that he fled when one pointed a gun at them. …”

After being arrested, State Police said, Leager was charged and arraigned at Justice of the Peace Court 2 in Rehoboth Beach, and then held at Sussex Correctional Institution in Georgetown on $60,000 secured bond.

On Thursday, police said Saleem Shabazz, of Philadelphia, was being held in Howard R. Young Correctional Institution in Wilmington without bail on charges of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted robbery, first-degree assault, six counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, two counts of first-degree burglary and first- and second-degree conspiracy.

Authorities said Matthew Harrington, of Pennsylvania, was held in the Montgomery County (Pa.) Correctional Facility pending extradition to Delaware.

Mr. Harrington was 23 at the time of the alleged incident; Mr. Shabazz was 21, police said.

Interviews conducted

Authorities said Mr. Leager was interviewed in October at Bayhealth-Kent General Hospital in Dover where he was being treated for a non-life threatening gunshot wound to his left torso and later at Troop 3.

According to police, Mr. Leager theorized the suspects must have come back to retrieve the gun he reportedly dropped before chasing them.

The gun Mr. Leager allegedly “used was found later that same day by detectives on the roof of a house located in the unit block of John Collins Circle,” State Police said in a news release announcing the arrest. “This was the same area in which Leager was seen running away from the car.”

At the hospital, Mr. Leager told police he was wearing red shorts and no shirt during the chase, according to authorities in documents, and the shorts were seized as evidence.

Police said in court papers that troopers located blood in the grass and sidewalk near where the car had been parked at 60 John Collins Circle, and a K-9 track led them to find a white female in the side yard of 270 David Hall Road.

The female had been shot, authorities said, and was pronounced dead at Bayhealth.

Earlier, according to police documents, Mr. Leager said two male suspects had demanded property after entering his residence and he replied “there’s nothing in here, bro.”

Mr. Leager alleged a white male shot him and both suspects shot his father, according to court documents.

“Jacob stated that he knew the black male suspect to be a longtime acquaintance named (redacted). Jacob stated that he had a falling out with (redacted) over a drug deal in April 2014,” the police reported in the affidavit.

In papers, State Police said Clifton Leager was pronounced dead by paramedics at the residence after being shot twice. His body was located “on the floor inside the back door of the residence.”

Fight, gunshots reported

Police said in papers they were told by a witness that Clifton Leager was seen “fighting with a black man wearing a ski mask” who asked where the “stuff was.” A 911 call was made, according to documents, and gunshots were heard.

According to police, a witness reported he saw a dark-colored SUV park on John Collins Circle, followed by two males putting on gloves and covering their heads.

“(The witness) stated that he could see movement in the vehicle after the males left,” according to police in papers.

“(The witness) said that he heard a gunshot and later saw two males running back from between the yards.

“(The witness) stated that he then observed a white male wearing no shirt and red shorts run towards the vehicle. (The witness) stated that the male pointed his hand at the vehicle as if he was armed with a handgun.

“(The witness) stated that the white male opened the rear driver side door and it appeared to him that he fired into the vehicle. (The witness) stated that the white male then ran up John Collins Circle.”

Another witness, according to police, said an armed white male with no shirt and wearing red shorts was seen walking to the driver side of a vehicle.

“(The witness) stated that the white male opened the door of the vehicle and fired two shots either into or through the vehicle. (The witness) stated that he observed two muzzle flashes from the gun. (The witness) stated that the white male then ran (towards a house) and between two yards.”

The State Police said in papers that a revolver was found on the roof of a residence on John Collins Circle during a daylight search.

“The pistol grips of that handgun were found in the rear yard of the same residence,” according to authorities in papers.

“Forensic examination confirmed that the revolver was the weapon that was used to shoot and kill (redacted). The location of the recovery is consistent with the path of the shirtless white male suspect (described by witnesses).”

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment