Police: Suspect in Skidmore threats has criminal history, including sex offenses

Posted at: 03/06/2013 12:01 PM
Updated at: 03/06/2013 6:04 PM
By: Mark Mullholland


SARATOGA SPRINGS - His name is Lance Leonard. He's 49-years old and police say he threatened to kill a senior student at Skidmore College with whom he'd had a relationship.

Police say Leonard called the student's father in Massachusetts on Tuesday and told him he was going to travel to Skidmore to shoot her and shoot himself.

"These two were having an alleged relationship of some kind," Jim Murphy, Saratoga County District Attorney. "She was trying to get away from this man and she wanted to break up with him."

 "He was threatening her and threatened to cause her physical if she broke up with him," added Murphy.

The student's father called police, the school went into lockdown and the search began for Leonard whose last known address was Cuttyhunk Island, Massachusetts.

All the while police were stopping and searching cars that were coming and going from the campus which is located at the end of North Broadway.

"It was a long and anxious night for all of us last night, but we woke to good news today," said Bob Kimmerlee, Skidmore College spokesman.

Police believed that Leonard was coming to town by bus as he'd done in the past, so they searched busses both here and in Albany.

Because of his criminal past, which NewsChannel 13 has learned includes sex offenses in Nevada and Massachusetts, police were able to track Leonard through his cell phone.

At 6:40 Wednesday morning, they picked him up outside the Taj Mahal Resort in Atlantic City.

He was not armed and was taken into custody without any problem.

Police say given Leonard's mental health problems and the nature and frequency of the threats, they had every reason to believe he might follow through.

"I think it had been building," said Lt. John Catone of the Saratoga Springs Police Department. "She's tried to distance herself as much as possible from him, but I think over the last few days, it started to build."

Leonard will be brought back to Saratoga Springs to face a charge of felony coercion. That could happen later this week if he doesn't fight extradition.