Man pleads guilty to retirement community murders

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Andrew Thomas Lauro (Photo: Surprise Police Department)
Andrew Thomas Lauro (Photo: Surprise Police Department)

Sentencing is scheduled for June 5 for Andrew Thomas Lauro, who pleaded guilty May 5 to killing two women in a Surprise, AZ, retirement community in February 2016.

Lauro, 25, pleaded guilty in Maricopa County Superior Court to two counts of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree burglary, according to the Surprise Police Department. He will serve 10.5 years for the burglary count and was sentenced to two concurrent life sentences for the murder counts, the police department said, citing information from a representative from the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. He will be eligible for release after 35.5 years in prison.

Lauro's co-defendant, Montez Lavell Wright III, 24, remains in custody awaiting trial.

As McKnight's Senior Living previously reported, Lauro and Wright were arrested after Barbara Leslie, 70, and her friend, Ruth Schwed, 75, who was visiting from Albuquerque, NM, were found shot to death in Leslie's Sun City Grand retirement community residence. Sun Grand City is a Del Webb community. The victims did not know either of the men.

Police said they discovered the women's bodies after Schwed's son called the department and asked officers to conduct a welfare check; he had not been able to reach Schwed or Leslie after finding $23,000 in charges on his mother's credit cards. According to police, the men had entered the residence via an open garage door. The men also stole Leslie's SUV and later abandoned it, according to the department. Police also said they found a cell phone belonging to Lauro in Leslie's home, which ultimately led them to him.

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