Officials: Man said he killed students


Published: Saturday, January 28, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 27, 2006 at 10:31 p.m.
OCALA - Leo Boatman, who was indicted Friday on two counts of first-degree murder in the slayings of two college students in the Ocala National Forest, confessed to those slayings two days earlier, and also talked to Clearwater Police about a murder in that city, officials said.
His confession Wednesday was explicit concerning the shooting deaths of Santa Fe Community College students Amber Peck, 26, and John Parker, 26, in the forest on Jan. 4, said sheriff's deputies.
"He gave a detailed description and made statements of facts that were supported by the evidence of the event that unfolded the day of the homicide," said Major Crimes Maj. Chris Blair about the Jan. 4 slaying of Peck and Parker. Authorities did not release copies of his statements.
Boatman, 19, then went on to tell them about the Dec. 30, shooting death of of Tommy Gregory, 34, in Clearwater. That's when Clearwater Police detectives came into the picture.
"I won't get into the scope of what he said but I can tell you we have one more person in a long line of people to look at," said Wayne Shelor of the Clearwater Police Department. "He is not a suspect but he has not yet been ruled out."
Gregory, who was sitting in a car in a working class neighborhood near downtown Clearwater, was shot in the chest. Shelor said Gregory was shot from the driver's side window and after he was shot, he drove the car for two blocks before crashing into a tree. He later died at a hospital.
The Marion County grand jury indicted Boatman on two counts of first-degree murder with a firearm on Friday after listening to more than three hours of testimony.
A team of prosecutors, including State Attorney Brad King and Assistant State Attorneys Rock Hooker and Bob Hodges, took part.
The jury took less than 15 seconds to deliberate.
Grand jury proceedings take place behind closed doors, and are not open to the public.
Sheriff's Office detectives said the Largo man stole an assault rifle, bought a Greyhound bus ticket and came to Ocala with the idea of killing someone. They have described him as a "serial killer in the making."
Parker and Peck, both described as nature lovers and members of a environmental club, were on a one-day camping trip near Hidden Pond in the Juniper Springs Wilderness area. Family members reported them missing and then found their bodies shot multiple times on Jan. 7.
Hooker said that the next step in the process will be Boatman's arraignment in February. Prosecutors haven't decided if prosecutors will seek the death penalty.
"You can't make that determination until you have all the information . . . We don't get all the stuff right away," Hooker said.

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