Suspect blames ‘adverse reaction’ to pot cookie for homicide of woman in Nuangola


NUANGOLA BOROUGH, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A woman was found dead inside her home in Luzerne County just after midnight Saturday.

State police tell Eyewitness News police were called Saturday morning around 12:30 a.m. for a domestic dispute at a home on Vandermark Avenue in Nuangola.

That’s when police say they found the victim, Elizabeth Leonard, 41, dead from what police described as “obvious traumatic injuries”.

“I jumped up off the couch and I went out and looked and there’s all these police cars and an ambulance, and then the coroner’s office showed up,” said Jack a neighbor near the home.

State police say Lavrius Watson, 26 of Monroe County, was at the scene and taken into custody.

Watson was arraigned by Magistrate James Dixon and has been charged with one count of criminal homicide.  

Watson told police he had been babysitting Leonard’s children for about two weeks. Court papers state that one of the two children had left the home around 2:00 p.m. Friday. Watson, Leonard and another child left the home to have dinner and then returned to the residence.

Watson told police he and Leonard then ate an edible marijuana cookie. Court documents state that Watson had an “adverse reaction” to the cookie before grabbing a knife from the kitchen and stabbing Leonard approximately five times.

Watson then reportedly called 911 to report the incident.

Pennsylvania State Police Troop N is being assisted in this investigation by the Rice Township Police Department.  

State police assumed the investigation after they were requested on scene by the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office. Rice Township Police, Wright Township Police and Fairview Township also responded.

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