New booking mug of Tucson double-homicide suspect

2014-01-16T00:00:00Z 2014-01-16T18:04:26Z New booking mug of Tucson double-homicide suspectBy Kimberly Matas Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

The suspect wanted in connection with a brutal New Year’s Day hit-and-run double homicide was arrested Tuesday night in Missouri after an “intense” foot chase, a U.S. marshal said.

Michael Dwayne Leday, 28, was arrested by deputies from the U.S. Marshals Service in Kansas City, Mo., Deputy U.S. Marshal Daniel Leyva, said in a news release.

Once he was identified as a suspect, law enforcement officers “pursued Leday with investigative information placing him in the Kansas City area,” Leyva said. After Leday’s arrest, deputies learned that he had left Tucson on a bus the day after the killings.

On Monday, Leday’s girlfriend, Jessica Terrell, took a bus from Tucson to Kansas City, where they reunited, Leyva said.

At about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, law enforcement officers staking out the Crown Lodge Hotel in Kansas City saw Leday and Terrell walking nearby.

Leday ran as officers tried to arrest him. He led more than 40 law enforcement officers on “an intense 30-minute foot pursuit through heavily wooded areas and creek beds” before he was captured, Leyva said.

Terrell, 24, was arrested for fleeing and failure to obey lawful orders by Kansas City police officers, Leyva said.

Leday awaits extradition to Tucson, where he faces two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of Patrick Balbastro, 32, and Cindy Burnett, 46. Additional charges are expected with regard to a third victim, Balbastro’s 43-year-old girlfriend, who also was run over by Leday. She remains hospitalized.

The altercation that led to the deaths began just before 4 a.m. Jan. 1 when Leday and Burnett got into a fight while walking in the 2200 block of East Sunland Vista, near East 36th Street and South Campbell Avenue, Tucson police said.

Balbastro and his girlfriend were driving in the south-side neighborhood when they saw a man, whom police now identify as Leday, assaulting Burnett.

Balbastro called 911 and told a dispatcher he was going to help the woman, said Sgt. Chris Widmer, a TPD spokesman.

When Balbastro got out of his car to help Burnett, the man attacked him. At some point during the attack, Balbastro’s girlfriend got out of the car, Widmer said.

After the assault, the attacker got into Balbastro’s car and “aggressively used the vehicle as a weapon to strike all three victims multiple times,” Widmer said.

The attacker fled the scene and abandoned the vehicle after hitting a tree near East Sunland Vista and South Campbell Avenue.

Burnett died at the scene and Balbastro succumbed to his injuries at a hospital.

Leday was previously arrested in Tucson in 2013 on several misdemeanors, including criminal damage, disorderly conduct and traffic offenses. Court records indicate the charges were dismissed.

He had also lived in San Diego and had several arrests there in 2007 to 2010, online records show. The records do not detail the charges.

Contact reporter Kimberly Matas at kmatas@azstarnet.com or 573-4191.

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