Hardeeville Murder Suspect Admits Guilt - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

02/22/06

Hardeeville Murder Suspect Admits Guilt

Jasper County Sheriff's investigators say the suspect in a brutal murder and beating in Hardeeville has a history of domestic violence. Patsy Grant was found inside her home Sunday night shot to death, her daughter Michelle Lovette badly beaten. The suspect is Leonard Lovette, Michelle's estranged husband.

Major Sam Woodward of the Jasper County Sheriff's department says Lovette has confessed to the crime. "We interviewed him, he admitted to the shooting and he's saying he's sorry about it. He says he just snapped."

Sheriff's investigators say this wasn't the first time Leonard Lovette has "snapped". They say he had been arrested several times before for domestic violence, and the night of the shooting, deputies had been to Grant's Freedom parkway home twice before  because Michelle was "scared". But when deputies left the second time, deputies say Lovette went inside the house and opened fire.

"We were hurt, we were upset, angry. We had a whole lot of emotions because it didn't have to go down like that."

JoAnn Reese was Patsy Grant's pastor, and a good friend. Reese calls her a pillar of the community, someone who was loved by everyone. Reese believes Grant's love for her own daughter Michelle may have led to her death. "There's something about a mother's love. They are willing to give their lives for their children."

While most of Reese's anger is reserved for Lovette, she also blames the justice system for not locking him up sooner.

"Had he been arrested then Patsy would be alive, the children would have their mother, and all the family members would still, we would still have Patsy."

Sheriff's officials say Lovette had been arrested several times on domestic violence charges, but was not considered a "danger to the community.  He ended up paying the low bails and getting out of jail.

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