Landlord who killed renters, hid bodies at torched house convicted after jury didn’t buy his defense

Landlord Found Guilty in Michigan Double Murder Case

In a grim turn of events, a Michigan landlord was recently convicted of the murders of two of his tenants. Chad Allen Reed, aged 56, was found guilty of first- and second-degree murder charges in connection with the tragic deaths of Joseph Soule, 34, and Jaclyn Lepird, 31, in October 2020. The verdict was reached by a grand jury and announced by the Calhoun County prosecutor’s office.

The disappearance of Soule and Lepird in October 2020 raised alarm bells among their friends and family, who reported them missing. Shockingly, a week later, their lifeless bodies were discovered concealed in plastic wrap under debris inside a truck parked in a vacant lot.

Adding to the mystery, a fire erupted at the house where the couple had lived and tragically died. Although the cause of the fire remains uncertain, it’s important to note that Reed has not been charged in connection with the incident. Law enforcement reported multiple attempts to set fire to the home.

During the investigation, a Battle Creek police sergeant testified that a call was made to 911 when the couple was still missing. The caller mentioned Reed’s suspicious activity, suggesting he may have been using cleaning products like Clorox or bleach to clean their apartment.

Lepird’s sister, Trinity Middleton, expressed her family’s heartache, emphasizing that the fire destroyed the last remnants of her sister’s presence. She mourned the loss of her sister’s belongings, which held sentimental value.

In a surprising turn of events, Reed eventually confessed to the murders. He claimed self-defense as the motive behind the killings. Reed alleged that an argument with Soule on October 7 escalated when Soule brandished a knife. He stated that he shot Soule and, after Lepird fled, pursued her on foot. Tragically, Reed admitted to beating and strangling Lepird to death in their backyard.

Investigators suspect that Reed left their bodies on the property for several days. Eventually, family members began visiting the home, leading to the discovery of the bodies.

Amid the growing attention on the house, Reed loaded the bodies into his truck and concealed them in a nearby garage to avoid detection by search teams.

Reed’s public defender, Susan Mladenoff, attempted to bolster Reed’s self-defense claim by highlighting Lepird’s temper and Soule’s struggle with substance abuse. Autopsy results showed the presence of cocaine and alcohol in both victims’ systems, but these substances were not the cause of death.

The couple’s tumultuous relationship, marked by frequent arguments, flirting rumors, and alleged infidelity, was a focal point in the defense’s strategy. Previous issues, including financial disputes and noise complaints, were reported in their apartment.

Notably, drops of blood were discovered near the couple’s kitchen, and pieces of flooring were found near the trash outside their home.

Medical examiners confirmed that Soule had been deceased for at least a day, with signs of moderate decomposition, before his body was discovered.

Reed’s past criminal record included a domestic violence charge and two assault charges from 2004. He was previously found guilty of felony assault with a dangerous weapon in 2005 and pleaded no contest to a charge of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct with a child under 13 in 2003.

Reed now faces a potential life sentence as he was found guilty of both first- and second-degree murder charges. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for November 30 in Calhoun County Circuit Court.

Chad Allen Reed’s public defender, Susan Mladenoff, was not available for comment at the time of publication.

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