Atlanta man suspected of killing 3 to face judge - CBS46 News

Atlanta man suspected of killing 3 to face judge

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Joseph Leonardo Smith Joseph Leonardo Smith

A man suspected of killing three people, including his fiancé and her 12-year-old daughter, is scheduled to face a judge Tuesday to formally hear the charges against him.

Atlanta police believe Joseph Leonardo Smith, 31, killed a woman at Wellesley Inn on Virginia Avenue around 8 a.m. Sunday, according to East Point police.

The Fulton County Medical Examiner identified the victim as Loveitt Wallace, 36, of Atlanta. Police said Wallace was strangled. Police said Wallace was celebrating her birthday with Smith.

Police said Smith then went to his townhome on Morrow Lane in southwest Atlanta around 9 a.m.

Police received a call about a person inside the home who had possibly killed several people. The man, Smith, held officers at bay during a standoff, police said.

After Smith eventually gave himself up, police found the bodies of Shatikey Griffin, 34, and her daughter Demiya Griffin, 12, inside the home.

"I just want to know why. What brought him to that point?" said Griffin's cousin Duwon Robinson.

Griffin's sister, Shelbe Griffin-Deadwyler, said Smith tore apart her family.

"How dare you? How dare you take my sister away and my niece away and they're so innocent? Why would you do this? Why would you do this? It was so not worth it and we are just torn," Griffin-Deadwyler said. 

Demiya Griffin was a student at KIPP WAYS Academy.

"This is a tragic loss to the KIPP WAYS Academy team & family," said KIPP WAYS Academy principal Dwight Ho-Sang. "Demiya was an incredibly sweet young girl who consistently demonstrated the school's values and was a great teammate. As an honor roll student who loved theater, Demiya had a very bright future ahead of her. We will miss her warm smile and bubbly personality."

CBS Atlanta News talked with the mother of one of the suspect's children.

Ashley Jackson, 29, said that Smith called her shortly after he presumably killed the women. Jackson said she is the mother of Smith's 14-year-old daughter and that Smith desperately wanted to see the girl.

"He stated that he had (messed) up. He said he did some crazy (stuff)," Jackson said. "And he wanted to see his daughter before he went to prison."

Jackson went to Smith's home but did not go inside.

Motives of the murders remained unclear.

In the death of the Griffins, Smith is charged with two counts of felony murder, aggravated assault, rape and false imprisonment.

Smith will be charged with murder and aggravated assault for Wallace's death.

Check with for updates on this developing story.

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Joseph Leonardo Smith, 32, is suspected of killing three people, including his new wife and her 12-year-old daughter. See photos More>>

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