Friday, May 13, 2011 | 1:13 p.m.
A 60-year-old convicted felon was arrested Thursday after police discovered a body in a vacant lot, which the man had kept in his home for six days.
Leonard Joseph St. Peters, 60, is being held without bail at the Clark County Detention Center on charges of murder with a deadly weapon, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and destroying evidence.
According to an arrest report, police received an anonymous 911 call reporting a dead body in a vacant lot in the 200 block of West Philadelphia Street. Patrol officers went to the area and found a body wrapped in plastic with tape in a shallow hole.
Officers examined a red shopping cart in the alleyway three buildings north of the lot. Police noted a strong smell of human decomposition in the cart and saw several spots where fluid was spattered. Tests on the cart tested positive for human blood, police wrote in the report.
Using police dogs, officers tracked the scent of human decomposition to an apartment at 246 W. Philadelphia St. The apartment manager told police that St. Peters lived in the apartment and had a gun.
Officers served a search warrant on the apartment. After knocking on the door and receiving no answer, SWAT officers entered and St. Peters surrendered to police, the report said.
According to the report, St. Peters told police he let a man he knew as “Rene” into his apartment because the man said he was hungry. St. Peters told police he thought Rene had recently smoked crack, then he told Rene to clean himself up.
As he walked away, St. Peters told police, Rene jumped him from behind and began choking him and hitting him in the head, according to the report. St. Peters told police he had a .380-caliber handgun stuffed between the cushions of the couch and used the gun to shoot Rene.
St. Peters then told police he lost consciousness and, upon waking a short time later, found Rene dead on top of him.
He told police he left Rene's body on the floor for three days with dirty clothes stacked on top of him to conceal the body. Due to the smell, he told police, he rolled the body in a plastic drop cloth and left him in the bedroom for three more days.
After the smell became “unbearable,” he told police, St. Peters decided to move the body at 10 p.m. Wednesday. He loaded the body into a shopping cart from an alleyway and placed the body in the shallow hole that was already there, police said in the report.
St. Peters told police he dismantled the handgun and put parts of it into several trash bins. He then disposed of his clothes because he “didn’t want to get in trouble,” the report said.
St. Peters was convicted of possession of a controlled substance in 1989 in California and attempted burglary in Nevada in 2000.