The wife of James Curtis Leonard, 39, of Moscow, Idaho, pictured, says he is now being harassed for the killing of four University of Idaho students
A convicted killer was arrested earlier this week for allegedly beating his wife and stalking her with a knife, but he’s now being wrongfully accused of the killing of four University of Idaho students, his wife exclusively told DailyMail.com.
‘There’s a lot of crazy stuff going on, but my husband had nothing to do with what happened up there,’ the wife of James Curtis Leonard said Friday in an interview outside their trailer home in Moscow, just a mile from the scene of the quadruple homicide. ‘It’s not linked at all. This is really p***ing me off.’
Her husband, 39, is being held on $100,000 bail for Tuesday’s alleged attack. Police have since declared that Leonard had nothing to do with the recent killings.
But that hasn’t stopped the speculation.
Leonard’s wife told DailyMail.com that her family is still facing online harassment, including from a YouTube personality who speculated about her husband’s involvement in a video headlined: ‘James Curtis Leonard! SUSPECT. Moscow Idaho,’ which has garnered 19,000 views since Thursday.
‘People on the internet are trying to pin the murders on him,’ she told DailyMail.com. ‘I had to get off that social media s**t.’
Police this week even said this week they would threatened internet sleuths with ‘criminal charges’ if they engaged in harassment fueled by the spreading of misinformation.
Leonard’s wife said she was home with her husband at the time of the November 13 pre-dawn massacre, and that he left for work at 7am that day.
She told police about the harassment on Friday when officers stopped by their trailer home Friday to follow up on Tuesday’s domestic incident.
Leonard’s arrest comes on the heels of the unsolved murders of Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20, which happened in November
‘I told police that we are tired of all the threats, harassment and allegations,’ she told DailyMail.com. ‘Our family has been in danger because of all these false statements being made on the internet.’
Speaking on Friday, Moscow Police Chief James Fry announced his department will crack down on internet sleuths who’ve been posting theories about the murders.
‘Anyone engaging in threats or harassment whether in person, online or otherwise needs to understand that they could be subjecting themselves to criminal charges,’ the department later added.
The wife said it’s also unfair that her husband is facing fresh scrutiny for his manslaughter case from 2007, when he shot and killed Tyler Lee outside his house in Genesee.
He reportedly claimed it was self-defense and told police that Lee had previously threatened him with ‘bats, machetes and other things.’
Police have said that they believe the murders happened between 3am and 4am on the morning of November 13
In February 2009, Leonard took a plea deal – admitting to involuntary manslaughter in exchange for a five- to 15-year sentence, according to court documents. The court suspended his sentence in May 2009 and he was placed on 15 years probation.
Police arrived at the home on Palouse River Drive to find Leonard’s wife with blood on her nose and mouth. When Leonard was ordered to come out of a back room, he had blood on his hands and large cut on his forearm.
‘Dispatch advised an intoxicated husband punched his wife in the head and struck his daughter,’ according to a criminal complaint.
His wife told police that he had drank ‘half a bottle of gin’ and became heavily intoxicated, accused her of cheating on him and yelled at her in front of her two kids, 20 and 15, her daughter’s 21-year-old boyfriend and a 1-year-old grandchild.
The complaint alleges that Leonard then went into his room and began cutting himself. When his wife checked on him, he allegedly punched her. He also allegedly beat up the 15-year-old, who was later found with a concussion.
Leonard was also accused of stalking his wife around the house with a knife and then slashed his own arm while she was on the phone with 911.
‘They’re throwing it back out, calling him a murderer,’ the wife said. ‘This was 2007 that that happened. He was young and stupid at the time, and he’ll be the first to admit it.
‘He is not the same person now,’ she continued, and called Tuesday’s alleged beating a one-off.
‘This is the first time anything like this has ever happened,’ she said.
‘He was depressed the other night, drank a little more than he should have, and didn’t take his anti-depressants, and I think that’s what triggered him. The whole night was just a big mess. It shouldn’t have ever happened.’
Leonard’s arrest and subsequent harassment comes as the college town of Moscow remains focused on the unsolved murders of Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin.
Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves, both 21, were murdered on the top floor of the house
The Moscow Police Department probed the movements of victims Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle (together above), who visited Ethan’s fraternity house hours before the murders
On Saturday, Idaho cops sparked fears the murderer could strike again as they warned youngsters attending a commencement ceremony to stay in groups.
Moscow Police told visitors to the city to keep in touch with their friends and family and stay vigilant during the celebration on Saturday.
The commencement ceremony marks an ‘important weekend’ for the city and will see a large influx of visitors coming into Moscow from out of town.
But Police Chief James Fry offered some reassurance his department is deploying more officers to the streets and university for the event.
‘With commencement this weekend, there will be an influx of people coming in from out of town. Moscow Police Department and Idaho State Police will provide coverage on campus and in the Moscow area,’ police said in a statement.
‘As always, we want to remind the public to stay vigilant, travel in groups, and communicate with family and friends as you travel.’
Moscow police said on Saturday morning that they had more than ten investigators looking into the murders and that nearly 50 FBI agents are working to crack the case, including a number in Moscow itself.
We’re working steady on the investigation still,’ said Fry. ‘We’re still pushing forward.’
Moscow Police Chief James Fry (pictured) said that there will be plenty of police around during the busy commencement weekend
On Thursday Moscow Police said they were looking for the occupant or occupants of a white 2011 to 2013 Hyundai Elantra that was seen near the crime scene. The department received so many tips, they have enlisted in an FBI call center for help.
‘Your information, whether you believe it is significant or not, might be the piece of the puzzle that helps investigators solve these murders,’ police said in a statement.
Police have said that they believe the murders happened between 3am and 4am on the morning of November 13.
A neighbor said that the front door, which gives access to the floor where two of the victims’ roommates were staying – was open at 8:30 a.m. on November 13.
But speaking to DailyMail.com this week at the city’s Christmas parade, police chief James Frye said the report – in which a neighbor noticed the door wide open 8:30am the morning after – was news to him.
Police believe Ethan and Xana visited the Sigma Chi house from about 9pm on November 12 until around 1.45am, when they returned to Xana’s off-campus home, just a brief walk away, where the murders took place.
Ethan and Xana, 20-year-olds who were dating, were stabbed to death along with Xana’s roommates Kaylee Goncalves and Madison Mogen, both 21, in the home they shared, likely while they were sleeping. Police still have no suspects and no murder weapon.
Kaylee and Madison were found on the top floor of the Moscow, Idaho home. College lovers Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle were found in a second-floor bedroom while survivors Dylan Mortensen and Bethany Funke were sleeping on the first floor
Earlier appeals to the public had focused on Kaylee and Madison’s activities on the night of the murders, which involved stops at a sports bar and a food truck.
Meanwhile, tensions grew further between investigators and the families of the victims, who have spoken out in frustration about the failure to identify a suspect.
Kaylee’s father Steven previously told NewsNation’s Brian Entin that police had told him her injuries were worse than the other victims’, but he didn’t go into detail.
Moscow Police contradicted that remark in their new statement, saying: ‘With the active criminal investigation, law enforcement has not released additional facts to the family or the public.’
Kaylee’s family (above) previously said they learned that her injuries were worse than the other victims’. The family say they are tired of waiting for answers from the cops in Moscow
Police downsized the investigation this week after officers were able to remove the victims’ personal belongings from their King Street home, which remains an ‘active crime scene’
Weeks after the grisly murders, few answers have come out and authorities have yet to name a suspect or even a person of interest in the case.
Autopsies determined the four students were stabbed to death, likely with a fixed-blade knife, and investigators checked with local stores to see if any had sold military-style knives recently.
Kaylee and Madison were sleeping on the third floor, and Xana and Ethan were on the second floor. Cops said the killer entered the house through a sliding glass door on the second floor, which was level with the backyard.
Two other roommates were in the house but were unharmed and unaware the attack occurred. They were sleeping on the first floor.
‘We believe someone has information that will add context to the picture investigators are creating of what occurred that evening,’ Moscow police said in a statement on Monday.
‘Our focus is the investigation, not the activities. Your information, whether you believe it is significant or not, might be one of the puzzle pieces that help solve these murders.’
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk