Arizona man faces arraignment in Superior shootingChristin Weir of Duluth wiped tears from her eyes before taking the stand today in Douglas County Circuit Court.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
Christin Weir of Duluth wiped tears from her eyes before taking the stand today in Douglas County Circuit Court.
Soft-spoken, she told of threats made one week before the shooting death of her fiancé, Terence Rodney Luukkonen. Weir told the courtroom, she and Luukkonen discovered his brake lines had been cut and nails strewn in front of another vehicle she drove primarily, the next morning.
Weir testified today that she had identified Juan Leonardo Padilla, 41, of Fort Mohave, Ariz., as a possible suspect in in the shooting in Genesis Attachments parking lot on Connors Point in Superior.
That information led to Padilla’s arrest at the Allyndale Motel in Duluth less than six hours after the shooting.
A few employees at Genesis said Luukkonen was having problems with his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend, Superior Police Detective Chris Moe testified.
Employees had noticed some suspicious activity in the parking lot about three days prior to the shooting, Moe said.
“They noticed a suspicious gold Cadillac — basically, they said it was casing the parking lot — driving through the parking lot, stopping and watching the building and driving around the area,” Moe said. “They described the driver as a lighter skinned-male who was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt.”
Moe said a review of Genesis’ video surveillance of the portion of the parking lot where Luukkonen was shot showed a gold Cadillac in the parking lot. The vehicle was parked behind Luukkonen’s sport utility vehicle at the time of the shooting, the detective testified.
On the video, Moe said, he could see a person in a dark hooded sweatshirt get out of the Cadillac.
“Initially, the person would get out of the car and pace back and forth between the Luukkonen vehicle and the Cadillac,” Moe said. “There comes a point in the video when Mr. Luukkonen gets into his vehicle and you can see the hooded figure come out of the Cadillac, approach the Luukkonen vehicle and within seconds that person crawls back to the Cadillac, and the Cadillac leaves the parking lot.”
Moe said he couldn’t see the actual shooting because the side of Luukkonen’s vehicle was blocked by another vehicle but he did see a change in the reflectiveness of the glass in the video.
The gold-colored Cadillac was described as an older-model vehicle with a dent in the rear of the driver’s side by both witnesses who testified today. Moe said he didn’t notice the dent initially in the video, but did notice it later.
Weir testified that she was familiar with the Cadillac.
“My mother owned it; she sold it to him (Padilla),” Weir said. She said she saw the vehicle in the Twin Ports after Padilla arrived around April 8.
A week before the shooting, Weir said she had gone to the Allyndale Motel in Duluth to talk to Padilla. The focus of that conversation was to tell Padilla again — she said she’d told him many times before then — their relationship was over and she was staying with her fiancé.
“He became very emotional,” Weir said. “He said … ‘I want to kill him.’”
Padilla, who served in the military for 20 years and as a police officer was known for carrying a black handgun in Arizona, Weir said. However, she couldn’t recall whether she had seen the gun with him since Padilla arrived in the Twin Ports.
“I don’t recall if I saw it or not,” Weir said. “I might have … he always had it so I just never paid attention,” Weir said answering a question posed by Judge George Glonek after Chief Public Defender J. Patrick O’Neill posed a similar question about possibly seeing the gun at the motel.
Moe testified police found a black hooded sweatshirt, and a pile of letters between Padilla and Weir, and a calendar that had the words “the day Christin broke my heart” written on date of May 16.
It was the same day Weir testified Padilla had made the threats against Luukkonen.
Moe said police also found a pistol holster, 40 caliber Winchester ammunition, a receipt for the same type of ammunition from a gun shop in Fort Mohave, Ariz. He said it was 40 caliber Winchester spent casings found under Luukkonen’s vehicle during the shooting investigation.
A subsequent warranted search of Padilla’s gold Cadillac also revealed a cleaning kit for a gun and a takeout menu with the words “Genesis, Main Street” and “Superior Wisconsin” handwritten on it, Moe said.
Glonek found probable cause after about an hour of testimony and scheduled the case for arraignment July 15.
Padilla is facing a first-degree intentional homicide charge.