A Washington man who admitted to killing two women and lighting the home he murdered them in on fire learned his fate in court this week.
Matthew Ryan Leupold was sentenced to nearly 61 years on Thursday for the January 2017 slayings of Theresa Greenhalgh, 31, and Mary Buras, 22. The News Tribune reported that Leupold killed the women at their Tacoma home during an altercation and that Leupold’s sister and 15-year-old nephew were in the home at the time.
During the dispute, Leupold hit Greenhalgh in the head with a hammer then and used a knife to hack her head off as she fought to break free. Leupold then used both weapons to bludgeon and decapitate Buras so that she wouldn’t go to the police, according to The News Tribune.
Leupold was also accused of going to his home, then returning with his teen nephew to light the murder victims’ home ablaze. The teen was tried and convicted of first-degree arson and received a two-year prison sentence.
The Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office revealed that Leupold was a convicted felon with seven prior convictions―including a 2005 arson charge. Shortly before committing the double homicide, Leupold was released from prison after serving a sentence for illegal possession of firearms, they said.
Leupold pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of first-degree murder. As a result, prosecutors dropped aggravated first-degree murder charges, likely sparing Leupold from serving life without parole.
Prosecutors noted that all parties involved in this case were drug addicts. During sentencing, the judge emphasized that Greenhalgh and Buras’ drug use doesn’t make their murders any less egregious.
Speaking of the slain women, he said, “In other words, they mattered.”
[Featured image: Matthew Ryan Leupold/Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office]