Woman charged in murder of Lacy Lakeview man

Published: Jul. 25, 2023 at 12:04 PM CDT
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LACY LAKEVIEW, Texas (KWTX) - Leah Cecelia Breuer, 36, was charged with murder in the killing of David Ralph Peeler, 44, a criminal complaint states.

Police said the victim’s brother-in-law discovered Peeler’s body shortly after 4 p.m. on April 24 inside unit #57 at the Village Square Apartments located in the 3500 block of Meyers Lane.

The victim was found face up in a deflated air mattress with multiple stab wounds across his torso, the criminal complaint states.

“There were smears of blood on the bedroom walls and a large amount of blood in the bathroom area, indicating that someone had caused the death of the victim,” police wrote in the document.

The brother-in-law told investigators Peeler had an on-and-off relationship with Breuer, who previously assaulted Peeler. Lacy Lakeview investigators spoke with Waco police detectives and learned Breuer assaulted Peeler on Oct. 10, 2022, by punching him and stabbing him in the face with a car key, the document states.

At the crime scene, police found numerous blood and hair samples. They also found a woman’s jacket and pair of shoes inside the unit.

Detectives found evidence of food preparation for three people and three chairs set out in front of the television in the apartment unit. The victim’s family said those chairs weren’t typically there unless Peeler had visitors. Detectives also found four different types of alcoholic beverages inside the apartment unit. The family said one of the beverages was the victim’s drink of choice. Another one of the beverages was Breuer’s drink of choice, the family told police, per the document.

A neighbor at the apartment complex told police she heard a disturbance coming from apartment #57 a couple of nights before the man was found dead. “The neighbor advised she looked out the door and saw a woman yelling into the apartment at what sounded like two male voices arguing inside the apartment,” police wrote in the affidavit.

On April 25, Detectives began searching for social media posts with Breuer’s name and aliases and found “recent” Facebook posts out of Oklahoma “showing that the suspect stole a white in color Ford Explorer bearing license plate #NNJ458 from her foster mother,” the affidavit states.

Detectives located Breuer’s foster mother and the woman told them the SUV was “reported stolen by (Breuer) and her boyfriend” on April 19.

On April 26, a license plate reader search was conducted and detectives learned the stolen SUV pinged twice in Texas at a location off I-35 in Waxahachie. Police there recovered the stolen vehicle for Lacy Lakeview police.

On April 27, the stolen vehicle was processed at a Waco crime lab and investigators located “large amounts of blood.” Detectives also found receipts from a Chicken Express and a Dollar General in Durant, Oklahoma.

On May 2, detectives were able to gain access to a mobile phone found inside the victim’s apartment and learned the victim had been communicating with Breuer on April 20. There were text messages from Breuer telling Peeler, “I’m for sure coming to you this weekend,” police wrote in the affidavit.

Other text messages revealed Peeler and Breuer had been arguing, the document states. “All correspondence ceased on April 20, indicating the suspect was already at the apartment by this date,” police wrote in the affidavit, “There has been no further contact since this date, indicating the suspect knows that the victim is deceased.”

On May 3, detectives obtained surveillance footage from the Dollar General store in Oklahoma. Breuer is seen in the video wearing the jacket and shoes found in the victim’s apartment, police said. The woman was also seen purchasing items listed in the receipts found inside the SUV. In the video with Breuer is a person detectives believe to be Breuer’s sister, the affidavit states.

A search of Breuer’s emails revealed she took an Uber ride share on April 21 from Waxahachie to the 3500 block of Meyers Lane in the Waco area, police wrote in the complaint.

Another email on April 23 indicates Breuer took an Uber from the 3500 block of Meyers Lane to the Greyhound bus station at South 8th Street in Waco, police wrote, further claiming, “this indicates someone left the victim’s residence early in the morning to go to the Greyhound bus station, presumed to be after the victim had already been murdered.”

Police said the Uber driver confirmed the ride from Waxahachie to Peeler’s apartment was paid for by Peeler. The driver also provided a description to police of his female rider and another person whose gender he could not make out. When shown a photo lineup, the driver picked out a photo of Breuer and confirmed to police she was the woman riding in his vehicle.

The Uber driver who transported Breuer from the victim’s apartment to the area near the Greyhound station also told police he picked up a woman and a second person whose gender he could not make out, the document states.

Detectives later spoke with Breuer’s boyfriend, who allegedly admitted they were the ones who stole the SUV from the Breuer’s mother on April 19. The man said Breuer’s sister was with them while they were in Oklahoma. He further claimed Breuer cut him twice in the arm with a box cutter, explaining the blood found inside the SUV.

The man told police Breuer kicked him out of the SUV in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where his brother would later pick him up. Police said the man “never made it to Texas, but Breuer and her sister did.”

When detectives reached out to Breuer via a Facebook message on May 9, Breuer’s Facebook account was deactivated, police said.

Police did not identify Breuer’s sister in the complaint. The document does not reveal whether police believe Breuer’s sister was with Breuer and Peeler at the time of the killing.

Online jail records show Breuer was booked into the McLennan County Jail on July 24. She is being held on a cash-only $500,000 bond.