Mark Bowes and Reed Williams, Richmond Times-Dispatch, August 30, 2011
A Fort Lee Army captain suspected of killing four people in Chesterfield County and Pennsylvania before taking his own life was in the final stages of a divorce and engaged in an ongoing custody dispute with his wife over their young daughter.
Chesterfield police believe Leonard J. Egland, 37–who served combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq–fatally shot his estranged wife, Carrie P. Egland, 36; her friend Scott T. Allred, 40; and Allred’s 7-year-old son, Morgan, in the Chester home the Eglands had shared before they separated about a year ago and Leonard Egland moved out.
Leonard Egland is suspected of later killing his mother-in-law in Pennsylvania before dropping his daughter off unharmed at a hospital.
Rick Friedman, Carrie Egland’s divorce attorney, said the couple had separated in September 2010, and “we were planning on moving them forward with the divorce shortly.”
Leonard Egland, an 18-year Army veteran who was assigned to Fort Lee in July 2010 as one of the training developers for the Quartermaster Officer Branch, had served three combat tours since joining the service in 1993–in Somalia, Afghanistan and most recently in Iraq, an Army spokesman said.
He was last deployed to Iraq in September 2008, but he came home for three months in February 2009 before returning to Iraq and staying until Sept. 16, 2009, said his attorney, Sharon Ten.
Ten said the basis of the couple’s breakup was over Carrie Egland’s allegedly infidelity. “It was during his last deployment … when he found out,” Ten said.
But Friedman said the infidelity issue was “not something that was really ever proved to be true. And it was something, I think, that had been building in (Leonard) while he was overseas,” he said.
About a week ago, Friedman said, Leonard Egland had contacted his wife by email–copying both Friedman and Ten–of his desire to reconcile with his wife. But Carrie Egland, who filed for the divorce, had “very, very mixed emotions,” Friedman said.
The couple met in the service. Carrie Egland enlisted in 1995 and was a quartermaster fuel handler and served with the 262nd Quartermaster Battalion at Fort Lee until being honorably discharged in 2007, an Armyspokesman said.
Keith Cady, another friend of Carrie Egland’s, said Leonard Egland had grown obsessed and controlling over his wife and could not move on. “He was consistently bringing her into court and making false accusations about her mental stability,” Cady said.
Authorities said Leonard Egland is suspected of killing his mother in-law, Barbara Reuhl, 66, in Bucks County, Pa., sometime Saturday night. Also that night, Egland flashed a handgun at a nurse or orderly at St.Luke’s Hospital in Quakertown, Pa., after leaving his daughter at the hospital with a note and some money.
Horowitz said the note “implied that he’s sorry for the things that he’s done. It’s like an apology note to the daughter.” The note also suggested he was going to kill himself.
Hospital representatives notified authorities, and Egland allegedly fired shots from a rifle when police tried to stop him in Doylestown Township, Pa., hitting a Doylestown officer in the arm.
Egland’s vehicle was seen again Sunday in Warwick Township, Pa., and officers took fire again, though no one was hit, police said.
Leonard Egland was found dead of a self-inflicted shot to the head in a field in Jamison, Pa., on Sunday about 3:40 a.m. Near the body was a 9 mm handgun believed to have been used in the Chester slayings, Horowitz said.