Man accused of slicing two throats being held on bond

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

A man who admitted to being high on methamphetamine was charged Monday for allegedly slitting the throats of a man and a 12-year-old boy Saturday in Bollinger County.

Both victims survived the incident.

James W. Leach, 22, of Clubb, Mo., said during an interview with police that he cut the victims' throats when they were "crowding him" during a confrontation, according to the probable cause statement. Since he had smoked meth earlier in the day, he said that he did not know that one of the victims was a young boy.

Leach is being held on a $500,000 cash-only bond for three class A felony counts of first-degree assault with injury, two felony counts of armed criminal action and one felony count of stealing a motor vehicle. Charges are pending against a second suspect that authorities have not yet named.

Victims Justin Bostic, 22, of Zalma, Mo., and the boy were treated at a hospital in Cape Girardeau and were later released. A third victim, Grover Waller, 46, of the same residence, was attacked but not injured, said deputy Leo McElrath of the Bollinger County Sheriff's Department.

The boy was visiting Waller's home with his father and older brother, McElrath said, and Waller's wife and son were also home during the incident.

According to the statement, the attack occurred around 5 p.m. at a residence in the April Hills area of Zalma. The two suspects drove a 19-year-old woman from her place of work to her home, McElrath said. Upon arriving, other residents of the house told the suspects to leave, but both followed them inside, where a confrontation occurred, the statement said.

During an interview with police, the second suspect said Leach grabbed the boy by the head, pulled his head back and cut his throat. Leach then turned and cut Bostic's throat, the statement said.

Waller said to police that he was asleep during the attacks and did not know that anyone was hurt. He opened the passenger door of Leach's vehicle in an attempt to speak with him. Upon doing so, Leach slid the knife across his neck but did not cut him, because the blade was turned backward, the statement said.

Leach drove off in a car owned by the second suspect, a dark Nissan car with "91" written on the front windshield, Waller told police. He said the car had a flat tire while driving off. Leach said that as he was fleeing, he saw someone come out of the house with a gun and fire a shot at the car, the statement said.

At about 6 p.m., officers received a call that the vehicle was parked with the motor running on Route E, one and a half miles from Highway 51. Leach admitted that he stole a red 1987 Toyota truck in fear that people were still pursuing him with a gun, according to the statement. A witness description led officers to arrest Leach at his residence, with the stolen truck parked behind his home.

The second suspect later contacted the police, the statement said.

If convicted of the Class A felony, Leach could face 10 years to life in prison.

jmetelski@semissourian.com

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