Crime - Sacto 911

Arden Way racial murder results in 32-to-life term

Joseph Paul Leonard is is questioned by Deputy District Attorney Amy Holliday on Monday, Nov. 17, 2014.
Joseph Paul Leonard is is questioned by Deputy District Attorney Amy Holliday on Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. hamezcua@sacbee.com

A judge on Friday sentenced Joseph Paul Leonard to 32 years to life in prison for the racially motivated murder of an African American man, Toussaint Harrison, two years ago on Arden Way.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Steve White also gave Leonard, 62, who is white, an additional eight-year term for the attempted murder of Justin Oliphant, a friend of Harrison and who also is African American.

The killing took place June 6, 2013, when Leonard ran over Harrison, 34, with his truck following a fight in the parking lot of the McDonald’s on Arden Way at Howe Avenue. Evidence at Leonard’s trial also showed he tried to run over Oliphant.

Harrison and Oliphant had been involved in a conversation with a female friend of Leonard’s when the defendant came out of the McDonald’s the day of the killing. A fight ensued, but Harrison and Oliphant walked away from the altercation before Leonard went after them with his truck and caught up with them in the parking lot of a nearby auto repair shop.

Taken into custody by a sheriff’s deputy, Leonard said in remarks taped on the patrol car video camera, “Just because we got Obama for a president these people think they are real special.” Leonard also used racial slurs in the patrol car and, witnesses said, also in the moments after he ran over Harrison.

Call The Bee’s Andy Furillo, (916) 321-1141. Follow him on Twitter @andyfurillo.

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