Suspect charged in Orange County triple-murder

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. —

Authorities said they have identified a man accused of shooting and killing three people near Curry Ford Road last month and charged him with first-degree murder.

Leonard Lewis was initially named a person of interest, but authorities have since charged him in the deaths of Richard Bottom, Todd Lemme and Deborah Watson, whose bodies were found in a wooded area near Curry Ford Road and Chickasaw Trail.

The trio was homeless and living in a barn near a retention pond, authorities said.

"There were no signs of forced entry into the barn," said Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings.

Investigators said they got a tip Lewis was in the areas and arrested him at a bus stop off Curry Ford Road, not far from the scene of the killings.

Investigators said Lewis was very combative during his arrest and did not say much.

Channel 9 learned Thursday that investigators spoke with Lewis the night of the killings and that he denied ever hearing gunshots.

Investigators also said Lewis was in a relationship that recently soured with Watson, which could possibly be a motive.

"She left the residence and moved into the barn," said Sgt. Mike Ruggiero.

One of the victims called 911 that night and deputies said Lewis' voice can be heard in the background of the call.

"In our opinion, it is pretty incriminating," said Ruggiero.

"The individual arrested today was a dangerous individual, no question," said Demings. "He's off the streets of Orange County this afternoon."

Deputies initially said they wanted to talk with Scott and David Emmons in connection with the murders.

According to officials, Lewis and Emmons are also homeless and both men were known to the victims.

Lewis is being held in the Orange County Jail.

Authorities said no murder weapon has been recovered.