Man Killed in Shooting Was Part of High Profile Animal Abuse Case
YORK, S.C. - Richard Leach was shot dead Tuesday night at a home tucked back into the woods on York Farms Road in York, South Carolina. Another man, Erick Harris, was badly hurt. York Co. Sheriff's deputies charged 47-year-old Steven Spagnoli, who lives in the home where the shooting happened, and 49-year-old Christopher Varnadore.
Leach made headlines two years when he was charged with animal cruelty after 13 pit bulls were confiscated from his home in Rock Hill. Judge Robert Davenport turned the animals back over to leach.
Animal rescuers say if the judge had issued a tougher punishment, Leach might still be alive. “Maybe if he had gotten that, he might have been in jail when this took place and he would not have been killed,” says a local animal rescuer who does not want to be identified.
She says the issues Leach had with his animals were signs of other problems. She says, "We're sorry for the family, but animal abuse cases are well known to be connected to other crimes."
Court records show Leach was arrested last week for possession of crack cocaine or meth. A background check pulled up 24 criminal records for the 44-year-old Rock Hill resident.
The rescuer says, "Maybe there will be a lesson that comes out of this for the youth of York County, that as the Bible says, 'if you live by the sword, you will die by the sword.' "
Sources tell us animal control has reached out to Leach's family and offered to take his pit bulls. The family has apparently declined.
We asked Leach's family if they wanted to comment on his death. They told us "not at this time." Police are still investigating the shooting.
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