Daniel Joseph Steele told police he met his pregnant girlfriend behind a store near the Triangle Town Center mall nearly two weeks ago “to discuss the problems they were having in their relationship.”
Police say at some point during the meeting when the woman, Kimberly Dianne Richardson turned to leave, her boyfriend used a .380 Remington handgun to shoot her twice in the back, according to a series of search warrants made public Tuesday afternoon at the Wake County Clerk of Court’s Office.
Steele fled and Richardson, mortally wounded, called 911 and told a dispatcher, “He shot me,” police reported.
Richardson also told police that a man “by the name of Daniel Steele” was the person who shot her, according to the search warrants.
Richardson later died during surgery at WakeMed. Richardson’s child, who she had already named Lacy Grey, was delivered by medical staff. The infant was listed in critical condition after her mother died, according to the search warrants.
Steele was arrested at his home about one hour after the shooting. He admitted to investigators that he shot Richardson and gave up the weapon he said he used, according to search warrants.
Still, questions remain unanswered by police, including any reason for Steele to harm the woman who was six months pregnant with his child.
Investigators obtained four search warrants to uncover more evidence. Richardson and Steele did not live together. Police searched Steele’s home in the 4200 block of Snowcrest Lane, Richardson’s second-story apartment on Cove Point Drive, a 2000 Toyota Avalon she owned and Apple iPhones they both owned, court records show.
The shooting happened just before 9:40 p.m. April 18 behind Party City, a retail outlet in the 3400 block of Sumner Boulevard. Richardson had just gotten off work at Zales jewelry store.
It was 10:50 p.m. when police arrived at the two-story home Steele rented and charged him with first-degree murder. Steele admitted he shot Richardson, according to police. The accused killer gave police the firearm and ammunition he said was used in the shooting. Investigators found that the weapon and ammunition matched the evidence they collected at the scene where Richardson was shot, according to the search warrants.
Richardson had spoken with one of her best friends, Katy Wester, 24, of Greenville about an hour before she was shot. Wester last week said Richardson was excited about her pregnancy and was making plans for a baby shower. Wester said Richardson told her she and Steele were thinking about moving in together.
Steele was one of three people who lived at the home on Snowcrest Lane. Richardson shared a three-bedroom apartment on Cove Point Drive with two roommates, according to the search warrants.
When police surrounded the home on Snowcrest Lane, neighbors said Steele and another man walked out of the home with their hands clasped behind their heads. A woman walked out of the home and then walked backwards with her hands up.
One of the officers, shone a flashlight inside the white Honda Accord Steele drove, but they did not search or seize the vehicle.
The neighbors said the police talked with the Steele’s roommates before releasing them. Steele remained in custody Tuesday at the Wake County jail, where he is being held without benefit of bail. A Wake County judge told Steele he could be put to death if convicted of first-degree murder.
Residents on Snowcrest Lane described Steele and Richardson as a quiet couple who kept to themselves. Steele worked as a security guard at the Triangle Town Center and had lived in the neighborhood for several years.
Investigators who searched Steele’s home found notes, cards and letters he and Richardson had exchanged during their relationship. The officers found more letters the two had exchanged in Richardson’s Toyota.
Police recovered a laptop computer, two journals, a napkin and business card from Richardson’s apartment. The officers seized a .380 caliber Remington handgun, five .380 bullets, a pair of black tennis shoes, clothing and an ultrasound photograph from Steele’s home.