Husband now charged, warrants reveal new details after woman fou - | WBTV Charlotte

Husband now charged, warrants reveal new details after woman found dead in motel tub

Timothy Leonard, charged with killing his wife (Source: Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office) Timothy Leonard, charged with killing his wife (Source: Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office)
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Court documents released in the case of a woman found dead inside a motel bath tub are revealing more details in her death, but family members say it paints a one-sided picture.

Timothy Leonard reportedly admitted to binding the hands of his wife, 50-year-old Danielle Newell and drowning her in the bathtub of a Cornelius motel earlier this week. Investigators found Leonard after he attempted to kill himself several hours later in the driveway of a Charlotte home.

He was booked in the Mecklenburg County jail at 1:52 p.m. Friday afternoon and charged with first degree murder.

The investigation began early Tuesday morning when an employee at the Microtel Inn along Torrence Chapel Road found Newell's body while doing a check of a hotel room.

**WARNING: Certain details below may not be appropriate for all readers**

According to multiple search warrants, the employee went into room 222 around 4:23 a.m. and "discovered a body wrapped in a blanket lying the bathtub" of water and there appeared to be blood on the woman's forehead.

Newell's "arms were bound behind her with red tape. Her feet were also bound by tape," according to one warrant.

The warrant says the room was "very messy and had pizza boxes lying around" and said police found "multiple pill bottles" lying on a table in the room.

According to the warrants, there were six separate notes found in the motel room that stated “I’m tired of living with my illness.”

Newell's names were on the prescription bottles found in the room.

The room was rented Saturday for two days to a man by the name of Timothy Leonard, according to the warrant, who was seen on surveillance video leaving the motel, alone, early Monday morning. Investigators later said Leonard was Newell's husband.

Detectives say they found Leonard Tuesday morning at a hospital in Cleveland County under a mental health hold. According to medic, he attempted to commit suicide at the home along the 1800-block of Anderson Road in Charlotte.

Charlotte police were reportedly called to the home the day before for a suicide attempt, according to the warrant. Leonard was found in his vehicle with a hose in the exhaust pipe and back right window. 

The warrant quotes a narrative from the CMPD officers who found Leonard in his vehicle.

"He locked himself inside a running vehicle with a hose in his mouth that was connected to the exhaust pipe," the officers wrote. "He was awake and [I] could hear him making groaning sounds."

The officers reportedly smashed the front passenger window and pulled him out.

According to the officers, the hose had been taped to the exhaust with red tape and red tape was also used on the same window that the hose was going through. Detectives later stated that the red tape from the home on Anderson Road matched the red tape at motel.

Officers say the door to the home was unlocked and there were boxes inside "as if someone had just moved in."

According to police, there as an empty prescription bottle with Leonard's name on it inside the home for Tizanidine, which is a muscle relaxer.

He was taken to Carolinas Medical Center - University where he indicated that he had taken ten of the muscle relaxers.

He reportedly didn’t want to talk to the police about his attempted suicide.

According to the warrant, hospital staff told police that Leonard should be fine and estimates he was in the car for 10-15 minutes.

Police say the vehicle they found Leonard in, a 1991 Mitsubishi Galant, was the same vehicle he was seen leaving the motel in Monday morning.

Leonard was interviewed in Cleveland County around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon and admitted to holding Newell under water in the bathtub until she died. He also admitted to binding her hands with tape they had bought at Home Depot.

Cornelius Police obtained a warrant for First Degree Murder in Mecklenburg County.

Investigators say it appears Leonard and Newell had both previously lived in Michigan before moving to the Cornelius area. It's not clear if they had just moved again, into the home on Anderson Road, but neighbors told WBTV it appeared they have moved in about a week before.

Newell's brother, Scott Newell, told WBTV's David Whisenant Thursday that Danielle wanted to end her life and that she had been living in chronic pain for years and couldn’t take it any longer.

“She’s been bedridden for years and they totally loved each other and she just wanted to pass and I think he’s going to be charged for helping her do that," Newell said.

Newell says the family believes that Leonard was helping her to commit suicide.

“That’s the context which the family subscribes to, that’s what we think we know, but we don’t know and I can’t really say, of course, who knows, but that’s what we think happened," Scott Newell said.

Scott Newell says Danielle and Leonard were like “two peas in a pod” and “totally in love with each other,” and that Leonard would not have been able to live without Newell.

Newell’s brother says that after Newell died, Leonard tried to kill himself, but was found before he died.

“That’s the context for it as far as I know. It’s my little sister, so I’m kind of sad. I do know that she was in a lot of pain and this is an assisted suicide, a successful assisted suicide and a double suicide attempt, in other words, he tried to commit suicide afterward because he was just so distraught," Newell said.  “So that’s the thing. It would be nice if North Carolina allowed for assisted suicide for people who are in chronic pain and want to go.”

Cornelius Police have not confirmed any information about an assisted suicide, but say the case is still an active investigation.

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