Sheriff to seek death penalty in murder of Sarah Foxwell

Judge denies bail to suspect in the case

December 29, 2009|By Julie Scharper | julie.scharper@baltsun.com

SALISBURY — Wicomico County authorities said they intend to seek the death penalty in the case of an 11-year-old Maryland girl whose body was found on Christmas Day, two days after police say she was abducted by a registered sex offender.

"If there is ever a case that screams for the death penalty, it is this case," Sheriff Mike Lewis said Monday.

A judge denied bail Monday to Thomas Leggs Jr., 30, of Salisbury, who was arrested on charges of kidnapping and burglary in the disappearance of Sarah Foxwell.

A younger sister awoke Tuesday night to see Sarah leaving her bedroom with Leggs, a former boyfriend of their aunt, who is the children's guardian, according to court records. Sarah's green toothbrush, which was missing, was found in Leggs' truck, records say.

Sarah's death has been ruled a homicide, but no further charges have been brought against Leggs, authorities said. It could take up to 45 days to bring additional charges, State's Attorney Davis Ruark said.

"I anticipate that [the case] could go before a grand jury," he said.

Police said they are not searching for any other suspects in the girl's disappearance. "We're confident we have our suspect in custody," Lewis said.

Leggs is being held in segregation in Wicomico County Detention Center.

An autopsy is continuing on the body, which was found after a search involving 3,000 police and volunteers.

Sarah's funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Emmanuel Wesleyan Church in Salisbury. Officials with Holloway Funeral Home have said anonymous donors offered to pay for the funeral.

Leggs was convicted of a third-degree sex offense in a 1997 case involving a 12-year-old girl who was volunteering at a "haunted woods" just before Halloween. In Delaware, he is listed as a "high-risk" sex offender in connection with the rape of a minor in 2001.

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