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UPDATE: Leonhart Sentenced for Murder

By: Shannon Houser, WTAP news, Brittany Lowe
By: Shannon Houser, WTAP news, Brittany Lowe

UPDATE: 11/1/12

Steven Leonhart receives lifetime in prison with the chance of parole after 52 years after pleading guilty to the murder of Willard Baker in January 2012.

It was a packed court room. At the sentencing, Baker's sister made a statement in tears-- addressing Leonhart. She tells the court Leonhart deserves a lifetime in prison, saying Baker's two-year-old son and the entire family will live a lifetime without seeing Baker every again. She pleaded to Leonhart for answers, begging him to look at her, the family, and the picture of baker's son.

Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Rings also read a letter from Mike Lisk. Lisk was injured during a struggle with Leonhart that day.

Rings read as Lisk tells Leonhart he took a good person from his friends and family. He also says Leonhart has left not only a life long physical challenge for him but also emotional trouble for Lisk, his wife, and his father who saw from across the road.

Defense Attorney Rolf Baumgartel says he does not doubt the grief the family has gone through but did tell the Judge Leonhart is mentally troubled. Baumgartel also also notes until now he has always been a law abiding citizen.

Steven Leonhart himself then addressed the courtroom barely making it through his apologies through the tears. He told Baker family he truly was sorry and says he can't answer why any of it happened. He also apologized to all those he hurt, saying he lives with the guilt daily. He apologizes to Mr. Lisk. Ultimately he tells both the Bakers and Lisk family he wishes the best for them all.

On the plea of aggravated murder, Leonhart receives life in prison with the chance of parole in 30 years. On the plea for gun specification he is sentenced to three years, the aggravated burglary charge he will serve eleven years and for felonious assault- eight years.

Those are all to be served consecutively, leaving the 36-year-old man with life in prison with the chance of parole in 52 years.

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UPDATE: 8/23/12

Just days before his trial, Steven Leonhart pleads guilty to the murder of Willard Baker.

Washington County Judge Susan Boyer asked Leonhart a series of questions.

In the end Leonhart plead guilty to aggravated murder, forfeiture of the four wheeler, aggravated burglary, and felonious assault.

Leonhart was arrested in connection with the shooting death of Willard Baker back on January 12.

Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Rings does say the sentencing will be lifetime imprisonment.

Leonhart's sentencing date, October 10, Judge Boyer can then determine if he has an option of parole and can set that then.

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UPDATE: 1/27/2012 3:40 PM

Steven Leonhart has been indicted on one count of aggravated murder with a gun specification and one count of attempted murder.

He also faces one count of kidnapping, 2 counts of aggravated burglary and one count of felonious assault.

Prosecutors say they chose not to seek the death penalty because there were no circumstances supporting it.

"Generally, that requires some showing that he's been in trouble with the law before; that there are things about him that make him basically irredeemable," said Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Rings, "and we were not aware of any of those types of factors."

Leonhart was arrested in connection with the shooting death of Willard Baker back on January 12.

Stay tuned to WTAP-TV and WTAP.COM for more details.
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UPDATE: 1/13/2012 4:45 PM

The manhunt ended with a murder charge for a Marietta man.

Friday, Steve Leonhart faced arraignment, charged with the murder of Willard Baker.

Due to the seriousness of the case, prosecutor Allison Cauthorn asked for the highest amount of bail to be set for Leonhart. She also asked for him to have no contact with both Holly Fickiesen's and Willard Baker's families, and Judge Welch agreed.

Leonhart's bail is set at 1.4 million dollars for all 5 charges.

He is charged with the aggravated murder of Willard Baker, kidnapping and attempted murder of Holly Fickiesen, aggravated burglary, and felonious assault of Baker's neighbor, Michael Lisk.

"We believe based on the facts of this crime and the danger he presents to the victim that remains alive and his expressed intention previously to kill himself that high bond is warranted in this case on all charges," Cauthorn said.

Washington County Sheriff, Larry Mincks says Leonhart is on suicide watch after attempting to kill himself Thursday night in jail.

Cauthorn also says there are elements in the case that may qualify Leonhart to receive the maximum sentence for aggravated murder, which is the death penalty.
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UPDATE: 1/13/2012 4:40 PM

A neighbor hurt trying to stop Leonhart remains in the hospital.

According to authorities, Holly Fickiesen ran from Leonhart to Michael Lisk's home next door.

Even with back problems, the veteran fought off the intruder. Lisk grabbed the gun pointed at him and Fickiesen and fought Leonhart even while being pushed to the ground.

And now he's being called a hero for saving Fickiesen's life.

"This incident and Lisk intervening was very instrumental in saving Holly's life. You have ordinary people who do extraordinary things, and I think Mike really rose to the height and did everything he could," Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks says.

While fighting off Leonhart, Lisk suffered wounds to his hands, a broken finger, and a hip fracture.

He underwent surgery for his hip and is recovering at Marietta Memorial Hospital.
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UPDATE:1/12/12 6:09 PM

One gunshot to the side killed 35 year old Willard Baker from Marietta.

"We found a victim who had been shot it appears with a 12-gage shotgun. The suspect was identified as Mr. Leonhart. We put out a "BOLO (Be On The Lookout)" for him that he was wanted," Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks says.

Police found the accused shooter, Steven Leonhart at his home and arrested him for murder. But they say he hurt two others that got in his way after the shooting.

"Forced his way into the house by breaking through a patio window had a confrontation with Holly Fickiesen in the residence."

Authorities say Bakers girlfriend, Holly Fickiesen was able to escape and she fled to her neighbors house for help, but Leonhart followed her there."

"The suspect pursued her over there and engaged in a confrontation with a neighbor and the neighbor suffered some injuries."

While the reason why Leonhart shot Baker isn't exactly clear, police believe it may have been related to a domestic dispute. Leonhart was Fickiesen's ex-boyfriend.

"And then she had started dating Mr. Baker and I believe that was the motive, or at least he was upset she had started dating somebody else."

When police found Leonhart at his home, they discovered a suicide note with a written confession. Police arrested Leonhart before he was able to follow through, and they will be using the note as evidence.

Fickiesen and her neighbor were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

The Washington County Sheriff's Office, Major Crimes Task Force, Marietta Police, and BCI and I all assisted in the investigation.



UPDATE: 1/12/2012 11:28 AM
Schools were on lock down in Marietta during the search for the gunman. Marietta City Schools Superintendent Dr. Harry Fleming said no one was allowed in or out for the nearly two hours wile the suspect was on the loose.

Fleming said the tight security served its purpose, "our main objective in having a lock down is that students are kept safe under every circumstance, so during that period of time they can't leave the building."

The lock down was lifted shortly after 9 AM.



UPDATE: 1/12/2012 11:20 AM
Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks has identified the victim as 35 year old Willard Baker of Marietta. Authorities believe Steve M. Leonhart shot and killed Baker at his residence on Caywood Road in Marietta. 40 year old Holly Fickiesen was in the home at the time of the incident as well. Fickiesen was not shot in the incident, but is being treated for injuries at Marietta Memorial Hospital.



UPDATE: 1/12/2012 10:52 AM
Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks says Steve M. Leonhart is currently being questioned and fingerprinted for evidence. Sheriff Mincks believes the man killed was Leonhart's ex-girlfriend's current boyfriend. The ex-girlfriend is currently in protective custody at this time.



UPDATE : 1/12/2012 9:10 AM
The search for Steve M. Leonhart is over. Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks says Leonhart was arrested at his home without incident. Investigators are interviewing him at the Washington county jail.



UPDATE: 1/12/2012 8:31 AM
All Marietta City Schools are on lock down until further notice due to a gunman on the loose in the area.




ORIGINAL POST: 1/12/2012 6:54 AM
Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks says police are looking for Steve M. Leonhart. Leonhart is wanted for a murder Thursday morning on Caywood Road near State Route 26 in Marietta.

Leonhart is 35-years-old, 155 lbs, with brown hair and brown eyes. He has tattoos on both his arms and was last seen wearing tan pants and a brown cap. He is believed to be driving a 1983 white Ford Bronco.

Police consider him armed and dangerous. Anyone with information is asked to call the Washington county sheriff's office at 740-376-7070.


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