MISHAWAKA, Ind. – A convicted murderer freed from prison two years ago gunned down his brother during an argument outside his brother's northwest Indiana home early Saturday, then chased his sister-in-law inside and killed her while her terrified children listened, authorities said.
Steven Clippenger, 41, of South Bend, apparently killed Matthew and Lisa Clippenger after he became angry when Matthew confiscated his handgun hours earlier at the home, James Taylor, a St. Joseph County Metro Homicide investigator, said in an affidavit. He got another handgun from an acquaintance, Jenifer Leveque, returned to his brother's home and killed the couple before fleeing with Leveque in a pickup truck, Taylor said. They were arrested a short time later driving away from Steven Clippenger's home.
Steven Clippenger is charged with two counts of murder as well as a weapons charge in the slayings. Leveque, 40, is charged with assisting a criminal and giving a handgun to a felon, the St. Joseph County Prosecutor's Office said. Clippenger was being held without bond, and Leveque's bond was set at $60,000. It wasn't immediately clear if either had an attorney.
Steven Clippenger was paroled in 2010 after serving 20 years in prison for murder, so when he showed up Friday night at his brother's house with a revolver, Matthew Clippenger confiscated it, angering the ex-con, who returned later with the other gun, Taylor said.
The brothers met in the garage of the home, and the daughter of the slain couple "heard a number of gunshots ring out. Their mother ... opened the door to the garage and began screaming" before going into the garage, where the daughter saw Steven Clippenger point the gun, Taylor said. The girl ran to her brother's bedroom and woke him up.
"The son of Lisa and Matthew Clippenger then opened the bedroom door and saw their mother fleeing down the hallway while Steven Clippenger was chasing her. The children then hear a number of gunshots. They then call 911," Taylor said in the affidavit.
Matthew Clippenger was found on his driveway, and his wife in the hallway, Taylor said.
Neighbors told the investigator they heard shots ring out, looked out a window and saw Steven Clippenger standing over Matthew Clippenger's body and shoot him. They neighbors then saw the gunman enter the home, heard more gunshots, then saw him leave the home and jump into a truck driven by Leveque that sped away with its lights off.
Officers found Steven Clippenger, Leveque and another woman in the car pulling away from his home. There were multiple handguns in the car, they said.
The second woman told officers that when Clippenger and Leveque returned to the home, "they told her to pack up her things and they were fleeing to Georgia," Taylor said.
Authorities didn't provide ages for the slain couple or their children.