A St. Maries man with a history of violence is in jail after brutally attacking his stepfather on New Year’s Day.
According to police reports of the incident, Derek Leeds, age 30, broke into his mother’s house and was confronted by victim William Taylor. An altercation followed that left Mr. Taylor with injuries requiring hospitalization.
Detective Mike Richardson, along with Deputy Dustin Pulley and Deputy Anthony Peterson, responded to the residence of Cheryl Taylor, Leeds’ mother, following a 911 call. Mrs. Taylor told dispatch that Leeds had broken into the home and was attacking her husband.
When deputies arrived, however, Leeds approached them and said that he had acted in self-defense, saying Mr. Taylor had attacked him as he entered the home. Detective Richardson noted no visible injuries on Leeds and placed him in handcuffs.
In contrast, Mr. Taylor was laying on the ground in front of the home, bleeding from lacerations on his face and from his ear. When asked, he said he didn’t immediately remember what had happened. He was transported to Benewah Community Hospital for treatment.
Detective Richardson questioned Mrs. Taylor, who said Leeds had recently been barred from entering the house, as she believed him to be using drugs. A note was placed on the front door, saying that food items had been left for him in a nearby car trunk.
Mrs. Taylor said she heard loud noises from downstairs at approximately 9:30 a.m., and came downstairs to find Leeds beating on her husband. The front door, which had been closed and locked, had been forced open, damaging the lock and doorframe.
Mr. Taylor later advised that Leeds had kicked the door in and had attempted to enter the home. Mr. Taylor told Leeds to leave, physically removing him when he did not comply.
“Taylor stated he turned to go back inside and Leeds jumped him from behind and began choking him,” Detective Richardson’s report said. “Taylor stated he lost consciousness, and the next thing he remembers was speaking with a deputy.”
Mrs. Taylor said she saw Leeds choking Mr. Taylor, and that Leeds was screaming “he needs to die!” She went back inside the house to contact police, then returned outside to find Leeds stomping on her husband’s head repeatedly, continuing to scream.
Mrs. Taylor said she walked to Leeds to asked him to stop and leave. Leeds advised that Mrs. Taylor should call the police, and that Mr. Taylor “is bad and needs to die.”
In custody, Leeds told deputies that a friend had told him his family was in danger and that he’d come to make sure they were safe. He admitted that he’d forced his way inside and claimed that Mr. Taylor had attacked him and he’d fought to defend himself. He claimed Mr. Taylor had hit him in the face, though deputies did not report seeing any such injuries.
Leeds has a history of confrontations with both St. Maries residents and law enforcement. During one incident July 11, 2019, he fled from deputies who were attempting to question him about a noise complaint, then attacked the deputies when they moved to arrest him. Bystanders intervened in the conflict, helping to subdue Leeds.
He pleaded guilty to battery on law enforcement personnel in October and was placed on felony probation with a suspended prison sentence of one year fixed, two years indeterminate. If he is found to have violated probation, he may be liable to serve that sentence in addition to any other punishments.
Leeds is now charged with felony aggravated battery against Mr. Taylor, as well as misdemeanors for unlawful entry, trespassing and malicious injury to property. No bond has been set for his release.