Durham police search for killer of young mother and her live-in boyfriend

tmcdonald@newsobserver.comDecember 17, 2013 

  • Homicides continue to mount in Durham

    Before Tuesday, the homicides on Cheek Road were the fourth and fifth in Durham during the past month.

    But on Tuesday afternoon, at 2:21 p.m., officers rushed to a “shots fired” call in the 2600 block of East Shoreham Street. When they arrived, they found a male lying in the street, dead of an apparent gunshot wound. The three homicides this week have raised the city’s total for the year to at least 30. That number includes a 2009 assault case reopened this year as a homicide after police learned the victim had died as a result of his injuries. No suspect has been identified.

    Two individuals have been fatally shot by Durham officers this year, and another died of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot while in police custody. Those cases remain under SBI investigation.

    With two weeks remaining in the year, Durham’s homicide total is already its highest since 2005, when 35 occurred, according to police records. In 2012, there were 21 homicides, and in 2011, 26. The city’s record is 43, set in 1996.

    Staff writer Thomasi McDonald

— Jerron L. McGuirt was released from prison on Valentine’s Day.

McGuirt, 34, moved into the red-brick home where his girlfriend, Jessica Liriano, lived with her three children in East Durham about four months ago.

The children had already left for school Monday morning when someone fatally shot the couple early Monday morning at their home.

Police had not made any arrests late Tuesday afternoon and said their investigation was continuing.

On Monday morning, they had asked area police agencies to be on the lookout for a car with South Carolina plates in connection with the case.

It was just before 7 a.m. Monday when police were dispatched to the 2200 block of Cheek Road after reports of gunshots fired in the area, police spokeswoman Kammie Michael reported.

When officers arrived, they found Liriano, the mother of two teenagers and a preschooler, dead inside her one-story, red-brick home at 2201 Cheek Road.

McGuirt was also mortally wounded. Paramedics rushed him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later, Michael reported. Police have not said whether McGuirt was inside the home when he was shot.

Investigators have not yet disclosed a suspected motive for the double homicide or identified a suspect.

The home where the shootings occurred was quiet Tuesday. The home sits on a hill and is surrounded by a white wooden fence. A blue-green Mazda was parked in a rear driveway, and a Little Tikes slide sat nearby. More toys and items that belonged to the now-orphaned children were scattered about on a screened-in porch.

Investigators who arrived at the home Monday after the killings cordoned the residence off with yellow caution tape and lifted fingerprints from the front and storm doors.

A next-door neighbor, Luis Colindres, said Liriano was a native of the Dominican Republic who had moved with her three children into the home about a year and a half ago.

“She had another boyfriend from South Carolina,” Colindres, a married father of three children who works at a bakery, said Tuesday. “They broke up. She stayed here by herself for like, two months. Then she met the other guy.”

The “other guy,” McGuirt, was released from prison Feb. 14 after serving 14 years, nine months and 23 days behind bars following convictions in Robeson and Durham counties for first-degree burglary, robbery with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, according to state records.

‘The new guy’

Colindres said he often talked with Liriano’s former boyfriend, “but not the new guy.”

“He never introduced himself,” he said. “It’s winter. People stay inside. We probably never had the time to talk to each other.”

Colindres said he often talked with Liriano, especially during the warm months when he would see her in the backyard while he was working in his vegetable garden.

“She was so nice,” he said. “Her father came to visit about five months ago, and we had a good relationship. He came here for two weeks. He called me two weeks ago.”

Colindres said he did not know whether Liriano’s father was aware of his daughter’s death.

“I feel so sad for him,” he said. “I thought about calling him yesterday, but I didn’t know how to answer his questions about what happened. I think I will call him today.”

Colindres left for work at Costco at 5:50 a.m. His wife left their home at 6:30 a.m. The husband and wife did not see anything unusual before leaving home. But when Colindres arrived home late Monday afternoon, “police were everywhere,” he said.

The yellow police tape that encircled the red-brick home where the victims were shot extended to a tree in his yard.

“I got scared,” he said. “I got my wife and kids here. When I got in my yard, I saw the problem was next door.”

Durham County tax records stated that Liriano lived at the house and that it was owned by Timothy McClain of Morrisville.

Police ask that anyone with information about Monday’s shootings, or about another on Tuesday, to call detectives at 919-560-4440, ext. 29332, or Crime Stoppers at 919-683-1200.

Crime Stoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases, and callers never have to identify themselves.

News researcher Peggy Neal and staff writer Ron Gallagher contributed to this report.

McDonald: 919-829-4533

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