Names of victims: Annabelle and Thomas Leonard, ages 84 and 48
Where bodies found: Colorado Springs townhome
Investigative agency: Colorado Springs Police Department
Date killed: March 15th or 16th, 2003
Cause of Death: Stabbed and slashed
Suspect: none identified
Annabelle Leonard had raised three boys and three girls on a cattle and horse ranch in Lincoln County.
Her world revolved around her children and their activities.
When her fifth child was born with cerebral palsy she offered him extra care. Living on a ranch, Thomas “Tommy” Leonard had chores and was surprisingly very strong even though his right fist was balled up.
“We grew up going to county fairs and rodeos,” said Annabelle’s youngest daughter, Roxi Graham, 55.
In high school, Tommy was often the equipment manager or team statistician. He traveled with the football and basketball teams to games. He was engrossed in sports, Graham said.
Tommy never married. When he was an adult he went from job to job. One time he got a plum job working for the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame & Museum of the American Cowboy in Colorado Springs.
Annabelle and her husband divorced and she moved to Colorado Springs, where she lived in a townhome at 3834 Constitution Ave. She contributed $100 a year to a gardening fund at the townhomes where she lived.
“My mom was a home body,” Graham said. “She was all about her family. Her kids. She didn’t buy expensive clothes or jewelry.”
Though elderly, she was very active, still driving to the grocery store. She liked to play bridge with friends.
Tommy once had a fiancee and was getting back together with her in the last part of his life. There had been a conflict over a $3,000 engagement ring. A brother of Tommy’s had confronted the woman and gotten the ring back for him. The woman filed a restraining order against the brother.
Tommy was between jobs and so went to stay with his mother Annabelle weeks before their death.
At 1:22 a.m., on March, 16, 2003, a Sunday morning, firefighters rushed the Leonard home as heavy smoke was streaming out the windows. It took them only about 10 minutes to put the fire out. Fire damage was minimal. The flames had not even reached the upstairs where someone had poured gasoline.
When firefighters extinguished the blaze, they found Annabelle’s body lying in the basement where her son had been staying. Her throat was slit.
There was evidence that someone had been searching for something in the basement. It was ransacked. Drawers were pulled out and the contents dumped on the floor.
But oddly, it didn’t appear that the killers took anything from the home.
Tommy’s body was on the kitchen floor on an upper level. He had been stabbed many times in the torso. Police told the family that one possibility was that the killer was young because they didn’t seem to know where to stab him to kill him, Graham said.
He apparently fought desperately for his life.
It appeared the fire was started to cover up the homicides.
However, Annabelle had grown up during the depression and was very frugal. She bought only what was necessary and saved her money in a secret stash. One of her daughters discovered $10,000 in cash still in the home after the murders.
It’s possible that whoever killed the two knew about the money and entered the home. They likely did so in the evening. The supper’s dishes were already washed and Annabelle and her son likely sat down in the living room to watch TV that Saturday night.
Police didn’t find any evidence that the home had been broken into, leaving the family believing that either Annabelle or Tommy voluntarily let them into the house, Graham said.
“The family doesn’t think this was random,” she said.
There were two chairs out of place. Someone had placed them in the kitchen. Family members believe the killers wielding knives and possibly other weapons forced them to sit in the kitchen.
Graham said if they were looking for Annabelle’s stash of money she would have given it up rather than risk their lives.
“If they wanted money she would have given it to them,” she said.
Graham said she believes the intruders had something else in mind.
“You just shake your head,” she said. “How could someone kill two harmless people. They didn’t have enemies that we know of. They just came in there and did a horrific crime. It baffles police.”
When the police were done processing the crime scene it was turned over to the family.
“There was a lot of blood. There was obviously two areas of trauma. It was pretty devastating,” Graham said.
Family members are hoping that whatever forensic evidence police collected from the townhome will one day be linked to the killer or killers. The family believes multiple people were involved.
It’s also possible that someone will be haunted by what they know and go to police and name the killers.
Contact information: The Colorado Springs Police Department can be reached at 719-444-7613
or CSPDColdCase@springsgov.com Denver Post reporter Kirk Mitchell at 303-954-1206 or email@example.com