FROM "COLD-CASE" FILES: EX-ARMY CAPTAIN
ACCUSED IN AXE-SLAYING OF THREE FELLOW
OFFICERS IN GERMANY - JAMES LEECH "PRIME
SUSPECT" IN MURDERS - SAID TO HAVE SET FIRE
TO VILLA IN PASSAU TO COVER-UP CRIME - CID
BUNGLED CASE - CHARGES DROPPED - TEN
YEARS LATER, LEECH DIES IN FIREBALL WHEN
SPARK FROM WELDING TORCH IGNITES
GASOLINE TANK IN LIMA, OHIO GARAGE
© 2013 MilitaryCorruption.com
It took more than a decade, but the cold hand of fate reached out and killed a former Army captain said to be the "prime suspect" in the axe-murders of three fellow Army officers in a villa in Passau, Germany.
James Leech, 46, got away with the grisly killings - the victims were Maj. Everett S. Cofran, Capt. Adrian L. Wessler and 1st Lt. Stanley M. Rosewater - when the CID bungled the case.
Three times the investigation was re-opened, but lucky Leech got off despite a "mountain of circumstantial evidence" that he had the motive and means to murder the Army officers. Cofran was said to have fired Leech's German girl friend from an Army job and an enraged Leech reportedly swore revenge.
"IN THE WRONG PLACE AT THE WRONG TIME"
That two other officers died that night of January 7, 1946, was a gruesome example of being "in the wrong place at the wrong time."
When Leech showed up to confront the major, cops said, the other two officers were in the villa as overnight guests. So they had to die as well. Must not have "witnesses" around to talk to the military police.
Capt. Leech was taken into custody but released four months later when a U.S.prosecutor in Frankfurt admitted the case wouldn't hold up in court.
Leech got out of the Army and returned to his home in Ohio.
It is more than ironic that he met death in a sudden fireball as he welded a gas tank in his Lima, Ohio garage. To cover-up the grisly slayings of ten years earlier, Leech allegedly torched the villa, which burned to the ground.