Lake City Homicide
The Pine Grove Baptist Church sits on a normally quiet corner along U.S. Highway 441, but according to neighbors, a horrific scene developed directly across the street very quickly.
"I sat down in my chair, and my oldest son said, 'oh my god,'" Stewart Morrison explained. "I got up to see what was going on, and the lady-next-door's son and his girlfriend came running up to the house in hysterics."
Morrison called 9-1-1, and then he ran to his neighbor's home to help--only to find a "bloody scene." He said his neighbor Leroy Leadingham was on top of his wife, Betty Gunn Leadingham, strangling her. Morrison and the woman's son, Benjamin Gunn, then broke down the door, but they were too late.
"She was an outstanding woman," Morrison said. "She'd do anything for you."
Columbia County Sheriff's Deputies and Florida Department of Law Enforcement Investigators were working to put the pieces together.
"At this point in the investigation, we have no idea what they were arguing about," Columbia County Sheriff Bill Gootee said.
The Couple were in the middle of a divorce and had appeared in court Wednesday, but were still living together.
"They were having problems ever since he moved in with her next to us," Morrison said.
Still, Morrison added there were never any signs something like this would happen; her family is in shock.
"They're taking it rough as anybody would," he said.
Moments after Morrison's 9-1-1 call, a sheriff's deputy arrived followed by additional units.
"The responding officers clearly went above and beyond when they entered the residence and took control of the suspect," Gootee said.
By Ted Latiak, WCJB TV20 News.
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