Court papers provide new details in McSherrystown homicide case

The nephew of a 64-year-old woman killed in her McSherrystown home had been investigated by police in the past for illegally entering her home, according to arrest papers in the case.

Online court documents also indicate that 25-year-old Jonathan Edward Leonard has a criminal history dating back to 2004 that includes several burglaries and possession of marijuana, in addition to counts of aggravated harassment and indecent exposure while he was in prison in 2008.

Leonard, also of McSherrystown, was charged Tuesday night with criminal homicide, robbery and theft in the death of 64-year-old Christiana Leonard, hours after she was found dead in the living room of her home at 725 3rd Street.

According to the charging documents, police found a broken vase, chair and table in the room, a glass soda bottle with an apparent blood smear on the neck, and traces of blood throughout the house.

Christiana Leonard had sustained “severe multiple blunt force injuries” about her head and face and had a partially torn fingernail that appeared to have occurred during the struggle, police said in the papers.

Investigators said Jonathan Leonard was traced to the crime through his aunt's 1992 Buick sedan, which was missing from a parking space behind the home. The car was found in Hanover less than two hours after police arrived at the murder scene, and a nearby surveillance camera had videotaped a man limping from the Buick with a white bag in each hand, police said.

Investigators said they found Jonathan Leonard in a nearby apartment and observed what appeared to be blood on his jeans and shoes and numerous cuts and scratches on his body. He told detectives that he hadn't driven a car in a long time, knew of no relatives who owned a Buick, and had slept on a couch in the apartment the previous night, police said in the documents.

A woman in the apartment, however, told the detectives that Leonard at arrived in the morning and had brought two white plastic bags with him, the papers state.

After Leonard was detained, police said a test confirmed the presence of blood on his sneakers, which had a tread pattern similar to that of a bloody print found at his aunt's home.

Leonard is being held without bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 18.

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