Murphy Resident Suffers Brutal Attack In Ft. Worth
On Sunday, Jan. 27, Murphy resident Jennifer Leedy was walking towards her car with her two daughters while attending a weekend dance competition in Ft. Worth. She said, “We were walking to our car and talking about how nice the day was. We were happy to be outside and in the fresh air. We were eager to get home, order pizza and relax.”
She remembers that she was holding her six-year-old daughter’s hand, she looked up and saw a person near them. The next thing she knew, that person was right in front of her and his face was filled with what she describes as crazy anger. She turned her head and flinched as his fist pounded, with bone destroying force, into her face. She fell to the ground and landed on the big bag she was carrying which broke her fall and, she believes, kept her from hitting her head on the ground.
For the seconds she was on the ground, she could hear her 12-year-old daughter repeatedly screaming for someone to come help her mom. But, she couldn’t hear her six year old. She jumped back up, propelled by the thought that the attacker had taken her younger daughter. Her younger daughter was there, softly whimpering at her side. Jennifer saw her attacker running away and she felt relief.
Witnesses of the attack report that they saw the attacker laughing as he ran away. An adult male chased after the attacker. This person was with his two teenage sons. One of the sons called 911. This family lives in California. The father contacted the Leedy’s telling them that he chased the attacker down alleys and streets, but couldn’t catch him. He offered to fly back during legal proceedings if necessary.
Another witness, Justine Diermier, was driving by when one of her two teenage children saw the attack. Diermier immediately pulled over to assist. Jennifer said, “Her two kids took mine in. They picked up my six year old. They loved on them. Justine has become one of my good friends.” When emergency responders arrived, they wanted to take Jennifer to the hospital in the ambulance. Jennifer said, “I just wanted to get in my car and get away from there.” Diermier became Jennifer’s voice of reason, Jennifer said, “I immediately trusted her.” Jennifer agreed to Diermier’s offer to drive her to the hospital. Once at the hospital, Diermier, who was just hours earlier a complete stranger, took Jennifer’s children to get something to eat at the hospital and stayed with her until Jennifer’s sister arrived. Jennifer said that other witnesses were willing to help in any way possible.
Describing her injury she said, “I knew right away that my nose was broken. Blood was everywhere, in my bag, on my pants and on the dance costume. All of it was covered in blood.” The CT scan showed fragments of the nose bone that was destroyed. Looking at photos of Leedy’s face after the attack, you can trace the direction and force of the punch when you see the large contusion on her forehead and her misaligned nose.
Because they had not heard from Ft. Worth police by the Tuesday following the attack, the Leedy’s contacted news stations. They had a description of Jennifer’s attacker and they knew that someone would know this person. At 8:15 a.m. the next day, a detective with Ft. Worth Police Department contacted them and asked if they would come do a photo lineup. Jennifer asked if her 12-year-old daughter could also participate, they agreed if an adult would be present with her. Separately, Jennifer and her daughter chose the same photo as the attacker. (Robert Leedy, Jennifer’s husband, accompanied their daughter during the photo lineup.) The police said they chose the person who they suspected of the crime. Jennifer said, “They arrested him that day. He was still wearing the same clothes he wore when he attacked me.” Robert Leedy said, “We would like to thank Ft. Worth PD, the detective and men and women on patrol who brought in this guy so quickly.”
Jennifer’s attacker is 34-year-old David Earl Thomas. Police officers informed that Thomas has been living on the streets in Ft. Worth for some time. He has been arrested 11 times, all for assault and burglary charges. The last time he was arrested, which was a year ago, was for attacking a female in her thirties who was walking her dogs in Ft. Worth. Thomas tackled this woman and tried to gouge her eyes out. He was charged with a misdemeanor and served 90 days in jail. For the attack on Jennifer, he was charged with a Class 2 felony. They are currently waiting for the grand jury trial. Jennifer won’t testify at that that trial, but if it goes to trial after that, she said she will testify, “I’ll be happy to do so.”
Jennifer said that what angers her most about this incident is, “That he was still out on the streets when he has attacked other victims. That he wasn’t in jail after doing those things to that poor woman a year ago.” Jennifer, not willing to hold this anger and do nothing to remedy the situation, has been actively promoting the need to get House Bill 1088 passed. This bill will enhance the criminal penalties for certain repeat and habitual offenders. Jennifer said she has requested to be notified when this bill will be discussed in Austin and she will tell her story in hopes that the bill will be passed. If readers would like to assist in getting this bill passed, Jennifer said to contact Texas House of Representatives Candy Noble at 512-463-0186 and Texas Senator Angela Paxton at 512-463-0108.
Regarding how this attack has affected her, Jennifer said, “I feel like I am an emotionally stable person. I know this doesn’t happen every time I go outside. Do I keep my eyes open? Absolutely. Do I feel more anxiety when people approach me? Yes. Do I keep my kids closer to me? Yes. I have pepper spray now, I didn’t before. This (pepper spray) wouldn’t have stopped what happened to me.” She said her 12-year-old daughter is very skeptical of people since the attack. She describes her husband as devastated and mad, “He hated that he wasn’t there to protect us.”
The silver lining she has found in this is that there are a lot more good people than bad. She and her family have experienced so much kindness and support from friends and strangers. She has had time to ponder more horrific scenarios that could have taken place that day which prompted her to say, “I’m blessed that this was it and it was not worse.”