|For Immediate Release
Case # 11ZF0126
July 16, 2014
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
Cell: 714-292-2718Farrah Emami
ARMY SOLDIER TO FACE TRAIL FOR MURDER OF FRIEND AND ATTEMPTED MURDER OF FATHER AND ANOTHER MAN IN HOTEL SHOOTING
SANTA ANA – An Army Specialist faces a jury trial today for murdering a friend and attempting to murder his father and another man in an unprovoked shooting at a Cypress hotel. Steven Matthew LeClaire Jr., 26, is charged with one felony count of murder, two felony counts of attempted murder, and sentencing enhancements for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death and the personal discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury. If convicted, he faces a minimum sentence of 90 years to life in state prison. Opening statements are scheduled to begin this morning, Wednesday, July 16, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-30, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
In February 2011, LeClaire Jr. was stationed in Texas.
At approximately 9:30 p.m. on Feb. 24, 2011, LeClaire Jr. is accused of being in a hotel room drinking and socializing with three other men at the Cypress Lodge on Lincoln Avenue. The other men included the victim’s father, Steven LeClaire Sr., then 42, and friends Marques Murray, 24, and Raymond Eligan, then 51.
The defendant is accused of pulling out a firearm, pointing it at the three men, and firing the weapon multiple times. LeClaire Jr. is accused of murdering Murray by shooting him in the arm and chest. He is accused of attempting to murder his father by shooting him several times. He is accused of attempting to murder Eligan by shooting him in the legs as the victim attempted to escape into the bathroom. LeClaire Sr. and Eligan survived the attack.
After the shootings, LeClaire Jr. is accused of walking out of the hotel room, putting his arms in the air, and surrendering to an off-duty California Highway Patrol officer. The defendant was arrested at the scene by the Cypress Police Department.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Jim Mendelson of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.