69-year-old man accused of shooting, killing his 28-year-old lover

Source: Columbus County Sheriff’s Office; MEGA

Mar. 7 2022, Published 5:05 p.m. ET

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A 69-year-old man is accused of killing the 28-year-old woman he had a relationship with, police said.

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On Feb. 21, deputies with the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office responded to a home for a dead woman. When police arrived, they found Hazel Jamessa Renee Leach, 28, dead from a gunshot wound to the head.

Lawrence Thomas, 69, was named as a person of interest, according to the sheriff’s office. Thomas and Leach were in a relationship, police said.

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Later that same day, police in Clinton, North Carolina, found Thomas and he fled in a car. He drove at 85 mph in a 55-mph work zone, according to the sheriff’s office. As he fled, Thomas hit multiple vehicles.


Eventually, police got him to stop and arrested him on a host of charges in connection to the alleged fleeing.

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Detectives in Columbus County learned of his arrest and got a search warrant for the vehicle. When they searched, police found information that allegedly connected Thomas to Leach’s murder.

This month, Thomas was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in connection to Leach’s murder. He is being held in jail without bond.

Source: Columbus County Sheriff’s Office; MEGA

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