Saying he stabbed Barry Cole in the back after he made a comment about his mother, accused murderer Wesley “Lex” Leverett, 25, admitted to killing his friend inside the victim’s small home on Lind Street near downtown earlier this year.
His statement to police was part of the evidence introduced Tuesday afternoon during the suspect’s preliminary hearing. He was bound to the grand jury by General Sessions Judge Bill Locke on the charge of criminal homicide for killing the 55-year-old former U.S. Marine.
“Cole made a remark about his (Leverett’s) mother,” said McMinnville police investigator Todd Rowland of what sparked the fatal attack as the two were hanging out at Leverett’s small apartment across from Super Rama.
“Leverett told the victim he thought someone was at the back door and when he turned around he stabbed him in the back.”
Rowland went on to detail the horrific crime scene, noting the victim had his throat cut and had been beaten with a table leg.
“He said he used a pocket knife,” Rowland testified, noting the alleged murder weapon was found later at a location off Red Road in a wooded area.
Rowland revealed during his testimony the break in the case came 12 days after the murder took place when officers finally received the victim’s cellphone records.
“Mr. Cole’s cellphone was missing from the scene,” Rowland noted.
The records revealed Cole’s phone had been used the night of his murder to call Leverett’s mother, Debbie Daniel, the same one Cole had made the comment about. Police say Cole’s phone was used by Leverett after he killed Cole to summon his mother to come get him from the crime scene.
Based on the cellphone records, police spoke to both Leverett’s mother and grandparents. During those interviews, police gleaned enough evidence to arrest Leverett for the murder.
Charges may be pending against members of the suspect’s family regarding events that happened after the killing. Rowland pointed out reddish material believed to be blood was found inside the car of Leverett’s mother, as well as on a door mat at her home. They also believe they have found blood on the soles of the shoes Leverett was wearing the night of the crime.
Search warrants were executed on both the home of Leverett’s mother and the home of his grandparents. A burned cellphone was found near his grandparents’ home, leading police to believe he may have burned the victim’s cellphone there.