ROBESON COUNTY, N.C. (WBTW) — A former Robeson County District Attorney said Tuesday’s triple homicide may not have happened if a rule change was enacted just nine months earlier.
Corey Grant Leak, 46, is in jail again, facing a long list of charges that includes three counts of first-degree murder. He was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted in a 1993 murder, but was out on parole at the time of the alleged triple homicide.
In a statement to News13, the North Carolina Department of Adult Correction explained the reason Leak was paroled.
“Corey Leak was sentenced under Fair Sentencing guidelines since his crime was committed before Oct. 1, 1994,” the statement reads. “That means that the Parole Commission was required to review him for parole.”
Wilkins told News13 he’s aware of the change in law.
“The entire process may be something the legislature needs to revisit,” Wilkins said in a statement.
Johnson Britt spent more than two decades as Robeson County District Attorney and tried Leak’s December 1993 murder case.
“That was the law,” Britt said. “That was the system. It was changed because people weren’t serving the sentences they were given in court.”
Under “Fair Sentencing,” Leak was parole-eligible after 20 years. The “Structured Sentencing Act” introduced for crimes committed on and after Oct. 1, 1994 ensures convicts have to serve mandatory minimums, and 85% of the maximum must be served before they’re eligible for parole.
“If he was involved in programs, he got time off,” Britt said. “Every day he was in, he got another day off. So 27 years, after becoming eligible at 20, there’s probably a behavior history of infractions that prevented him from getting parole earlier.”
Britt believes prosecutors have enough to seek the death penalty because of the previous conviction.
“You also look at course of conduct that involved the commission of crimes against other persons, so each murder of each victim aggravates the others,” Britt said.
Until Tuesday, Leak hadn’t been charged with any other crimes since his release, according to officials.
Leak allegedly killed two family members and a friend over an argument about money, according to Robeson County Sheriff Burnis Wilkins.
“Had this guy been locked up like he should’ve been, none of this would’ve occurred,” Wilkins said at a Wednesday news conference.
Wilkins said law enforcement is doing its job and called on others in the criminal justice system to do theirs.
Current Robeson County District Attorney Matt Scott said it’s too early to comment on the latest case.