BATTLE CREEK, MI – A man from Battle Creek confessed to killing a man and woman who were his tenants, then wrapping the bodies in plastic, police said.
Battle Creek Police said the 53-year-old surrendered on Thursday, October 15, shortly after telling another person what he had done.
The man should be charged with two counts of open murder, the Battle Creek Police Detective Sgt. Joël Case.
The two deceased, Jaclyn Lepird, 31, and her boyfriend Joseph Soule, 34, had been the subject of a missing persons case since Monday, October 12.
Case said the homicides appeared to stem from a long-standing disagreement between the couple and the owner.
It apparently erupted on Wednesday, October 7, the day police believe the couple were killed at 203 Post Ave.
When he surrendered on Thursday, the owner made a statement. Case said he told police there had been a verbal altercation between him and Soule.
“He claims Joey pulled a knife at him and in self-defense he pulled out a gun and shot and killed Joey. After seeing this, (Lepird) tried to run away from the residence, at which point moment he ended up shooting him too.
“He also said he followed her into the backyard and started beating and strangling her until she eventually died in the backyard,” Case said.
Police said he also confessed to wrapping the bodies in plastic and placing them in the back of his van. After a few days, when Soule and Lepird’s family and friends started showing up to pick them up, he drove the truck to an abandoned garage nearby and parked it there, Case said. He closed the door.
Case said the homicides were still under investigation.
He said detectives, during today’s investigation, learned a little more about the continuing disagreement between the owner and the couple.
“From everyone we spoke to, friends and family, it seemed like they had an ongoing dispute where they just couldn’t get along. They were having arguments over money, they were having arguments over you-name-it, ”Case said.
He said it was “relatively common” for the owner, in conversations with other people he knew, to describe his annoyance with them. He reportedly told others that the couple liked to party and were loud.
“He would tell others he’s had another bad night’s sleep because of all the noise,” Case said.
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