Steven Matthew LeClaire Jr. Guilty of Murder, Attempted Murder in Cypress Lodge Shootings

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Courtesy of Cypress PD
LeClaire: Guilty!
Steven Matthew LeClaire Jr. was found guilty last week of second-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder for shooting his father and two friends in a Cypress motel room on Feb. 24, 2011.

The AWOL Army soldier was peeved his father gave booze to his teenage sister and that one of dad's pals hit on the 14-year-old girl. The 26-year-old, who could get 90 years in state prison, also blamed his own alcoholism and problems in the military on his dad, according to prosecutors.

Steven Matthew LeClaire Jr. Jurors Weigh Murder or Manslaughter for Army Deserter

The U.S. Army specialist was AWOL from his base in El Paso, Texas, in February 2011, when he came to Orange County. Around 9:30 p.m. on Feb. 24, 2011, LeClaire was in the Cypress Lodge watching a basketball game with his father, Marques Murray, 24, and Raymond Eligan, 51, when the gunman fired several times at the men without provocation.

The elder LeClaire was shot several times and Eligan was clipped in the legs trying to escape, but both survived. Murray, who took rounds to the arm and chest, died. Ten hours after the shooting, LeClaire Jr. blew a 0.10, meaning his blood alcohol content was likely closer to 0.24 when he opened fire, Senior Deputy District Attorney Jim Mendelson told jurors.

LeClaire's attorney, Gassia Apkarian, had sought a verdict of involuntary manslaughter.

Nancy Murray, the dead man's mother, told City News Service she was happy with the verdict, "Just as long as Steve LeClaire never walks again as a free man."

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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