ROBESON COUNTY, N.C. (WBTW) — A triple homicide on Tuesday in Robeson County is believed to have stemmed from an argument about money, Sheriff Burnis Wilkins said Wednesday in a news conference.
Corey Grant Leak, 46, of Red Springs, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder, one count of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury with intent to kill, two counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, attempted murder, possession of a stolen firearm, two counts of trafficking in cocaine, possession with intent to sell or deliver cocaine, maintaining a drug vehicle, and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to online booking records.
Wilkins said Leak was spotted by a citizen riding a moped without a helmet and he was eventually taken into custody in the Maxton area. Wilkins added that Leak has been cooperative.
Leak was taken to the Robeson County Detention Center without bond on the murder charges and a $1 million bond for the other charges, according to the sheriff’s office.
There was a court hearing in the case on Thursday morning at 10 a.m., according to a court official.
James Elijah Beauregard, 45, Donald Kendrick Williams, 51, and Sierra Nicole Wherry, 34, all of Red Springs, died in the shooting in the 100 block of Samuel Williams Drive, Wilkins said. Equilla Williams Biggs, 71, of Red Springs was also injured in the shooting and is expected to survive.
All four people had multiple gunshot wounds, Wilkins said. About two minutes of audio of the 911 call was played during the news conference. In the call someone could be heard frantically screaming while on the phone with dispatch, saying that people had been shot.
“If that guy would shoot his own family members, just imagine what he’d do to you and I,” Wilkins said.
Leak is the nephew of Biggs and cousin of Williams and Wherry, according to the sheriff’s office. Leak and Beauregard grew up together.
“We’ve lost basically a family here, and friends, in the small community of Red Springs,” Wilkins said. “These folks are very well-known in their area and very well-respected.”
Investigators believe there was an argument over missing money, which led to the shooting.
“There was an argument over who took his money and [Leak] just lost it,” Wilkins said.
Leak was on parole for a 1996 murder conviction at the time of Tuesday’s killings, according to Robeson County Sheriff Burnis Wilkins. Leak was convicted of first-degree murder on July 12, 1996 in connection with the death of Arreatta “Sasue” Scott on Dec. 29, 1993, according to the sheriff’s office.
Leak had not been charged with any criminal offenses since he was released on parole in October 2020, according to the sheriff’s office.
“I’m in my 42nd year of law enforcement and it’s just disheartening,” Wilkins said. “Early in my career, I could remember a time you would not see murder suspects walking the streets.”
Wilkins mentioned an incident on I-95 on Saturday in which a person who was out on bond for a murder charge allegedly pointed a gun at a detective.
“I don’t know what it’s going to take,” Wilkins said. “Again, law enforcement constantly catches that blame, but it’s not our fault. We’re doing our part. Once that person is presented to a magistrate and they’re locked up in that detention center, we’re done, that’s it for us. We have no control.”
Wilkins said the shooting should’ve never happened because Leak should’ve still been in prison.
“Folks, we’re doing our job,” he said. “I’m just asking others to do theirs. Had this guy been locked like he should’ve been, none of this would’ve occurred.”
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives assisted in the investigation. The Red Springs Police Department, Maxton Police Department, and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol Aviation Division also responded to the scene.
Anyone with information about the triple homicide is asked to call 910-671-3100 or 910-671-3170.
This is a developing story. Refresh for updates.
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Kevin Accettulla is the digital executive producer at News13. Kevin is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He joined the News13 team in March 2020 after nearly two years at a sister station in Pennsylvania. Follow Kevin on Twitter and read more of his work here.
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Manny Martinez is the weekend evening anchor and a reporter at News13. Manny is from Chicago. He graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in broadcast journalism. Follow Manny on Twitter and read more of his work here.