TACOMA, Wash. - An Olympia man was sentenced to more than 60 years in prison Thursday for bludgeoning two women to death then beheading them and setting fire to their home.
The 731-month sentence against Matthew Leupold, 34, was handed down in Pierce County Superior Court after he pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and one count of arson.
Before announcing the sentence, Judge Jack Nevin said the murders were "deliberate, cruel and merciless."
According to court documents, Leupold murdered the women, Theresa Greenhalgh, 31, and Mary Buras, 22, in January 2017 in their home at 3715 S. Yakima Ave. in Tacoma.
He told investigators at the time that he became "possessed" as he was doing drugs with the women, and that voices told him to kill one of them, court documents say.
He first killed Greenhalgh, then killed Buras because he was afraid she would report him to police, according to the court file.
He used his fists and a hammer to beat the women, then dragged them into a bathroom where he cut off their heads with two knives and a hatchet, according to the case file. Greenhalgh was still alive as she was decapitated, the judge said during sentencing.
Their remains were found in the burned house two days later. One of the women had her hands bound. Court documents say the fire was started with kerosene.
In a statement to the court at Thursday's sentencing, Leupold said the women "didn't deserve to die," and he was sorry for what he had done.
The killer's sister, Lindsey Leupold, 38, was charged with rendering criminal assistance for trying to clean up the scene. She eventually pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 90 days in jail last year, according to court records.
Matthew Leupold's nephew, who was 15 years old at the time of the murders, also was arrested. Court documents accused him of trying to hide evidence and helping to set the house on fire.
Court documents say the nephew led detectives to backpacks containing incriminating evidence. One contained the head of one of the women.