DNA on cigarillo leads to arrest in robbery of 97-year-old veteran, deputies say

Victim was found unconscious

(Associated Press)

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – DNA found on a cigarillo led to the arrest of a man accused of taking a wallet from a 97-year-old man veteran and leaving the victim unconscious with head injuries, according to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies said the victim rode his lawn mower to a convenience store in the Okahumpka area to purchase groceries in July 2019 and when he returned home, there was a man with a gun at his back door.

Family members later found the World War II veteran unconscious with head injuries and realized his wallet was missing, a news release said.

A Black and Mild cigarillo was found at the crime scene and collected as evidence, records show.

Deputies said they reviewed surveillance video from the convenience store and saw a man near the victim who purchased a Black and Mild and left the store within minutes of the victim.

The man in the video was identified as 29-year-old Kevin Eugene Leeks Jr. and a search warrant was executed to obtain his DNA, according to authorities.

Testing from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s lab confirmed that Leeks’ DNA was on the cigarillo tip and on the victim’s pants, records show.

Leeks was arrested Wednesday at a hotel in Leesburg on charges of home invasion robbery with a firearm and theft from a person 65 years of age or older.

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