News Release|

An Elizabeth man who stabbed his fiancée’s mother to death was found guilty Wednesday of first-degree murder.

The jury deliberated about three hours after a six-day trial before Elbert County District Court Judge Gary Kramer. Defendant Christopher Leary, 21, stood as the judge announced the jury’s verdict in the death of June Anderson, who was 56 when she was killed.

“This is a young man who made the decision to stab to death another human being, and he calmly carried out that action,” said District Attorney John Kellner. “He forever took his victim from her family, and nothing can change that. The community is safer with him behind bars, where he belongs.”

In 2018, Leary was living in Anderson’s home with his girlfriend and their newborn son. On Oct. 31, there was an argument over a mess in the kitchen. Leary went for a walk to cool off.

“Tonight was the final straw,” Leary told an investigator late on the evening of Oct. 31. “I didn’t want her to start up again, but of course, she did. I wasn’t going to have it at all. If she says a thing, I am going to go out there and take care of this.”

Leary returned to the house. Anderson made a negative comment about her daughter, and Leary attacked Anderson. He kicked down her bedroom door and beat her.

“I have already gone too far,” he thought to himself, he later told the investigator. “If I am going to go to jail or prison, I might as well do it for something that is worth it.”

Leary left Anderson on the floor, retrieved a knife from his bedroom and stabbed her in the throat.

“No matter what the victim said, she did not deserve to die,” Senior Deputy District Attorney Doug Bechtel told the jury during closing arguments. “Her words did not warrant the defendant’s actions.”

Bechtel tried the case with Chief Deputy District Attorney Ann Tomsic.

“This is not a case of provocation,” Tomsic said. “He’d already decided to end it that day. This was murder.”

Judge Kramer set sentencing for Oct. 13. The mandatory sentence for a Class 1 felony is life in prison without possibility of parole.

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