3rd suspect surrenders in deadly stabbing, theft

3rd suspect surrenders in deadly stabbing, theft

PHILADELPHIA - State police have arrested a third suspect in the the deadly stabbing of a man whose body was found wrapped in a sheet inside a home earlier this week.

They arrested Brandon Simpkins Thursday evening in connection with the killing of Stephen Leibensperger in Shoemakersville, Berks Co.

Simpkins, 21, surrendered to state police in Philadelphia following a daylong search of numerous residences in Philadelphia and Reading.

"For us to be able to not only catch these people, but be able to give the public a little bit of relief to get them off the street is a good thing," said Lt. Raymond Guth, Pa. State Police.

Police were called to a home in Shoemakersville on Monday for the report of a burglary. When they got to the home in the 700 block of Chestnut St., they found a large amount of blood, a knife handle covered with blood and Leibensperger's body wrapped in a white sheet in the attic.

Michael Walker, 29,  who was arrested Tuesday, is facing a slew of charges, including first, second and third degree murder and burglary.

"Obviously they did their homework to chase them down quickly so it makes everybody more confident," said Earl Stufflet, who has lived in Shoemakersville for almost 45 years.

According to court documents, Walker admitted to stabbing Leibensperger, 49, to death inside the home on Monday.

Walker has been an intimate friend of the homeowner, Brian Trump, for the past three years, police said.

They said Walker became upset and jealous when Leibensperger moved in with Trump a week and a half ago.

According to court documents, Walker told police that he, his father and stepbrother went to Trump's home with a kitchen knife, machete, blanket and rubber gloves.

The three suspects also stole $12,000 and two handguns from the residence, police said.

According to court documents, Walker told police it was the intention of all three to kill Leibensperger and then to kill Trump when he returned home from work, but police said Walker's father and stepbrother decided to leave the home when a neighbor saw them.

"They know it was unusual, you know who belongs here and who don't," said Norma Kline, who lives right around the corner from where the homicide took place.

Trump called 911 when he arrived home and discovered that his home had been burglarized.

Mark Ellis was taken into custody in Philadelphia Wednesday afternoon. He's Walker's father. Simpkins is Walker's stepbrother.

"Thankfully they got him, and it's just a terrible thing to happen in a neighborhood like this, especially around Christmas time," said Stufflet.

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