On Dec. 8, convicted murderer Chad Allen Reed, 56, of Battle Creek, Michigan, learned his fate.
According to WXMI in West Michigan, Reed received two life sentences for the October 2020 slayings of his tenants, 34-year-old Joseph Soule and Soule’s girlfriend, 31-year-old Jaclyn Lepird.
Trinity McAllister, Lepird’s sister, applauded the judge’s sentence, which included life without parole.
“We were very pleased with the decision. I mean, you can’t beat two life sentences. We’re very thankful that he will never be out to hurt another person again,” McAllister told WXMI.
Reed first shot Soule and then pursued Lepird before brutally killing her.
Two years ago, Jaclyn Lepird found herself in a terrifying situation. Her boyfriend was tragically shot in their apartment by her landlord, Chad Allen Reed and she had to flee for her life. #Michigan #PortfolioDay https://t.co/17JfTuH1ZI
— True Crime Avenue (@Welovetruecrime) October 10, 2023
“He not only shot her, he chased her down; he hit her with a metal object; he tried to slit her throat. He then strangled her until a life went out of her,” prosecuting attorney Tamara Towns said at Reed’s trial in October.
Was this a fair sentence?
At the time the verdict was given, Reed became agitated and even challenged the proceeding’s legitimacy.
“I object, your Honor. This court does not have jurisdiction, just as I said. I call for the jury to review a record of the holding documents that they’re holding the hearing illegally, and they have,” Reed said, WXMI.
Judge Sarah Lincoln twice instructed Reed to keep silent.
During trial, which began on Oct. 3, jurors learned that Soule and Lepird lived on the second floor of Reed’s home. Reed lived on the first floor.
Reed claimed self-defense after allegedly telling authorities that Soule pulled a knife on him. Then, after killing Soule, Reed allegedly admitted to shooting Lepird, chasing her down, beating her and strangling her to death after she ran from the home.
A detective took the stand and told jurors that after initial reports of the couple’s disappearance, investigators found no signs of a break-in at Reed’s home. But they did find evidence of blood.
Investigators also concluded that Reed wrapped the victims’ bodies in plastic and kept them in the back of his truck. He later moved the truck to an abandoned garage.
“In the bed of the truck, there were two plastic garbage cans — large ones like you take to the curb. We emptied those,” one investigator told jurors.
“As we kept going, we started seeing lumpy, or hump areas, covered by black plastic,” the investigator added. “Then we got to an area where we saw what appeared to be human remains encased in plastic.”
According to prosecutors, everything pointed to murder.
“All the facts, taken as a whole, paint a very clear picture — the defendant, Chad Reed, brutally murdered Jaclyn Lepird and Joseph Soule. He planned it. He intended it,” prosecuting attorneys said during closing arguments.
Jurors received the case for deliberation on Oct. 5 and took less than a day to issue their verdict.
As often occurs in cases of violent crime, two aspects of this particular story might strike the reader as significant.
First, the work of investigators and others involved in law enforcement never amounts to a given. The simple act of setting foot on Reed’s property placed detectives’ lives at greater risk than most people ever experience. Entering his home to find blood evidence and no sign of break-in multiplied the risk. Such acknowledgements from those outside of law enforcement must never become mere platitudes.
Second, one is struck by the profound senselessness of it all. Two young lives met violent ends, and for no apparent reason besides rage.
If that senselessness calls forth from us expressions of gratitude for every one of life’s moments, then it will have done the only possible good that could come from a case like this.