|For Immediate Release
Case # 11CF0526
February 28, 2011
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
AWOL ARMY SOLDIER CHARGED WITH MURDER OF FRIEND AND ATTEMPTED MURDER OF FATHER AND ANOTHER MAN IN HOTEL SHOOTING
SANTA ANA – An AWOL (absent without official leave) Army Specialist was charged today with murdering a friend and attempting to murder his father and another man in an unprovoked shooting at a Cypress hotel. Steven Matthew LeClaire Jr., 23, 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. LeClaire Jr. is being held on $1 million bail and is expected to be arraigned this afternoon, Monday, Feb. 28, 2011, in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.
In February 2011, LeClaire Jr. is accused of going AWOL from the US Army. He was last 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 suspect’s father, Steven LeClaire Sr., 42, and friends Marques Murray, 24, and Raymond Eligan, 51.
Without provocation, 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 head and chest. He is accused of attempting to murder his father by shooting him several times in the stomach and back. 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 a hotel manager who had walked outside upon hearing the shots. The defendant was arrested at the scene by the Cypress Police Department.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Sonia Balleste of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.