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Former state trooper, wife killed in Christmas Eve murder-suicide in Halifax County

Husband killed wife, then himself, according to Sheriff’s Office

HALIFAX COUNTY, Va. – A former Virginia state trooper and his wife were found dead after murder-suicide on Christmas Eve, according to the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities say Philip Leath, 44, and his wife, Lori Leath, 37, were found dead on Bellvue Road in front of their home between the Town of Halifax and South Boston, shortly after police received a call around 9:30 a.m. Sheriff Fred Clark said someone driving by the house witnessed part of the incident take place and made the call.

Both died of apparent gunshot wounds after Philip Leath killed Lori Leath and then himself, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities say the shooting appears to be a domestic incident. They recovered a rifle at the scene.

Sheriff Clark said there were no recent calls to the address or glaring issues that were apparent with the couple. However, the Virginian-Gazette, the local paper in Halifax, reported in May 2018 that husband and wife were charged by local law enforcement, although currently available online court records don’t show the charges. According to the Virginian-Gazette, Philip Leath was charged with misdemeanor assault and battery of a family member and obstruction of justice by threat/no force, while Lori Leath was charged with misdemeanor assault and battery of a family member.

According to Richmond Times-Dispatch public salary databases, Philip Leath last received a salary from state police in 2017. The record states he was assigned to the Halifax area and began his service in 1999.

Sherff Clark said he knew both husband and wife personally, and declined to go into detail about the kind of police work Leath did in the area.

According to social media, Lori Leath was a local dental hygienist.

The bodies were taken to the state medical examiner’s office in Roanoke for autopsies, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

This incident is under investigation. The Halifax County Sheriff’s Office worked with the South Boston Police Department, Virginia State Police and Virginia Department of Transportation.

This is a breaking news story. Stay with 10 News for updates.


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