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Life in prison for Emmanuel Sanchez, convicted by a jury in the death of Crystal Leopold

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MILWAUKEE — A West Allis man, convicted in the fatal stabbing of Crystal Leopold near 25th and Orchard in Milwaukee in August of 2017 was sentenced to life in prison. The fatal stabbing took place two days after a domestic abuse injunction was issued against Sanchez aimed at preventing him from contacting Leopold for four years.

Emmanuel Sanchez, 29, in late November of 2018 was found guilty by a jury, convicted on one count of first degree intentional homicide, use of a dangerous weapon, and one count of knowingly violating a domestic abuse order, injunction, domestic abuse assessments.

In court on Tuesday, Feb. 12, Sanchez was sentenced to life in prison on the first conviction, with credit for 550 days time served. He will be eligible for parole/extended supervision after 45 years. He was sentenced to nine months in prison on the second conviction, to be served concurrently.

According to a criminal complaint, when police arrived on scene, a woman told them “she’s upstairs. She has a knife in her chest!”

Emmanuel Sanchez

Leopold was found in an upper unit lying on the floor with the red handle of a butcher knife sticking out of her chest. A man was kneeling next to her, trying to apply pressure to her chest and perform chest compressions. Life-saving measures were unsuccessful and Leopold was pronounced dead at the scene.

An investigation revealed the knife did not belong to anyone at the home.

The complaint said investigators spoke with the man found kneeling next to Leopold. He indicated he and the woman who greeted police at the scene lived at the home with Leopold. He said they agreed to move in with Leopold “to provide her extra support and protection from her ex-boyfriend” — identified by this man as Sanchez.

This man said on Aug. 11, 2017, Leopold was getting ready to go on a date with someone she had just met when the man said he heard her screaming for help. Leopold was found in the bathtub, with Sanchez on top of her. The complaint said Leopold was trying to push Sanchez off of her, and her male roommate told police he initially thought Sanchez was strangling her.

Leopold’s male roommate said he pulled Sanchez off of Leopold, and he was slippery with sweat and able to break free. The roommate said he then pushed Sanchez down the stairs and chased him — observing him escape by jumping through a window.

When the roommate went back upstairs, the complaint said he found Leopold with a knife sticking out of her chest. She was trying to pull the knife out, and pleaded with her roommates not to let her die. That’s when the male roommate tried applying pressure to the wound.

The complaint said Sanchez’s brother called 911 on him, and police responded to the area near 35th and Becher. Sanchez’s brother told investigators Sanchez called him on the night of Aug. 11, 2017 — begging to be picked up at 35th and Greenfield. He said his brother sounded out of breath, and told him he was hiding in a park. When Sanchez’s brother got to Rogers Park, he said he found his brother sweating profusely and breathing hard. As they drove from the park, Sanchez told his brother “he thought he may have attempted a homicide,” and that he had “stabbed Crystal.” He then said he wanted to kill himself and ultimately jumped from his brother’s vehicle as his brother was dialing 911.

Sanchez took off running from the area near 34th and Rogers, and he was located by officers near 38th and Lincoln — where he was arrested.

The complaint said Leopold’s roommates identified Sanchez as a suspect in a line-up.

The complaint noted a history of domestic abuse between Sanchez and Leopold. On Aug. 9, 2017, two days before Leopold’s death, a domestic abuse injunction was issued against Sanchez for four years — and he was prohibited from contacting Leopold or being present at her home. He was served with that order on Aug. 10, 2017.

Five days before Leopold’s death, on Aug. 6, 2017, police were called to the home to investigate a complaint regarding the violation of a temporary restraining order granted against Sanchez on July 26. Leopold told investigators Sanchez had entered her home in violation of the order while she was sleeping, and he’d taken her phone from the charger in her bedroom. She indicated Sanchez “appeared to be on drugs.” She said she got her phone back and dialed 911, and Sanchez left.

When Leopold petitioned for the temporary restraining order on July 26, she told the court Sanchez strangled her in her vehicle on July 24. That temporary restraining order prohibited Sanchez from being at Leopold’s residence.


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