LOGAN — A 65-year-old Perry man is headed to prison for attempting to kill some of his family in Mendon almost 21 months ago. Charles W. Leff was ordered to serve two terms of three-years-to-life behind bars after family members described him as an “angry monster.”
Leff was sentenced in 1st District Court Wednesday afternoon. He previously pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder, a first degree felony.
Early on the morning of Jan. 24, 2020, Leff angrily left his Perry home, telling his wife he was going to drive to Mendon and kill his daughter-in-law and grandchildren. He then packed a suitcase with medication, grabbed four firearms, and told her that she would never see him again.
Cache County sheriff’s deputies conducted a traffic stop on Leff’s car near the victim’s home and took him into custody peacefully. He admitted to packing a suitcase with clothing, medications and four handguns; but claimed he was leaving the area to live in Oregon, and took the firearms so his wife wouldn’t have access to them.
During Wednesday’s sentencing, defense attorney Ryan Holdaway said Leff accepted responsibility for his actions that were born of conflict. He didn’t believe his client would ever do it again.
The daughter-in-law tearfully described years of physical abuse she had witnessed as Leff isolated himself from the world, drank, and smoked marijuana. She spoke about the fear her and her children experienced, when they learned Leff was driving to their home to kill them. The victim called the defendant cold and heartless, as she asked for the harshest penalty possible from the court.
Cache County Chief Deputy Attorney Tony Baird said having Leff sent to prison would insure that he didn’t threaten the family again. He explained that the sentence might help the defendant realize the damage he had done to the family.
Judge Brian Cannell said he believed Leff had the intent to kill the family and expressed gratitude for law enforcement who stopped him. He called the defendant’s actions dark, vile and scary.
Leff sat silently next to Holdaway throughout the 45 minute sentencing. He constantly stared forward, never turning around to see the victims and other family members seated in the courtroom.
Judge Cannell also explained that because of a plea deal, previously worked out between attorneys, the two sentences would be served at the same time, although he felt they should run consecutively, meaning it will be at least three years before parole is possible. He expressed hope that the victims could feel peace and joy again.