Alabama shooting suspect Desmonte Leonard surrenders


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The Independent US

A man accused of killing three people at a party near a US university turned himself after a three-day manhunt that included a tense but fruitless search of a home by police tactical units.

Defence lawyer Susan James said that her office arranged for Desmonte Leonard to turn himself in at a Montgomery, Alabama courthouse after getting word that his family wanted her help.

She said she contacted US Marshals and then she and her son, who works for her as an investigator, picked up Leonard.

She would not say where except that it was about 50 miles from Montgomery. They then drove him to meet investigators.

"He was very calm, very tired and very ready to get this over with and very respectful," she said.

She said they had time to talk while driving to Montgomery: "When the full story is told, it may sound different than the perception now."

Ms James said she has not been retained to represent him.

Leonard, 22, is charged with three counts of capital murder in a shooting after a fight over a woman. He is accused of wounding three others.

The dead included two former Auburn college American football players, and a current player was among the injured.

"I've got a team of 120-some-odd players right now that are really just trying to navigate what is a lot of questions that aren't answered," Auburn football coach Gene Chizik said.

"We're trying to do that as a coaching staff and I think the entire Auburn community is trying to do the same thing."

Two men already have been charged with misleading authorities during their search for Leonard, and Police Chief Kevin Murphy said the man who ferried Leonard to the home could be arrested on similar charges.

Police surrounded a house in Montgomery on Monday thinking Leonard was inside after they received two solid tips.

They swarmed the home with tear gas, spy gear and assault rifles, but after a tense, nine-hour search, they discovered Leonard had fled by the time they arrived.

At one point, they believed they heard movement and coughing in the attic, but their search that lasted until early yesterday turned up nothing.

Leonard had a connection to the house through someone other than the owner, said the city's public safety director, Chris Murphy. He declined to elaborate. The woman is not accused of any wrongdoing.