Two charged in murder conspiracy in eastern Henrico

Nicole Simmons
Nicole Simmons
Leo Gallant
Leo Gallant

By Andy Jenks - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan – email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - A burning house, a stolen credit card, and a deadly plot against several family members. Henrico Police say they've arrested two people who stand accused of making the plans.

Nicole L. Simmons, 24, and her boyfriend, Leo J. Gallant IV, 25, are facing several charges related to what police describe as a detailed scheme to get out of jail and flee the country.

It began as a break-in at the Highland Springs home where Simmons' father lives, and developed into a plot  -police say- that very nearly ended with three relatives dead.

Growing up, Nicole Simmons never saw her father all that much, and that's something Ray Barnette wishes was different.

"I wasn't there for her like I should've been. And maybe that's part of why she's the way she is," Barnette said in a low, raspy voice.

Ray is battling throat cancer, and wasn't home that day in October when Simmons, and her boyfriend, Gallant, stopped by. Police say they stole tools and car parts, and later got taken to jail for it.

"I couldn't believe it," Barnette said.

Yet, the story wasn't over. During the next month, police say a devious murder plot began to unfold because Gallant couldn't find the money to get out of jail.

Simmons, however,was able to post bond. With Gallant still in jail, police say the two of them made detailed plans to kill Gallant's parents and then use his mother's credit card to post his bond. Police say the duo's plan was to then burn down the house with Gallant's parents in it, then, also kill Simmons' grandmother.

"I couldn't believe my daughter had anything to do with something like that. 'Course, you don't want to believe that of your children," Barnette said.

But authorities say it never got that far. Police won't elaborate on how they determined the suspects.

Ray was devastated to see his 24-year-old daughter, the mother of five children, once again be taken to jail.

"I said, Nicole, how could you go from six months ago being a mother of 5 boys, to someone's going to be convicted of a felon? What went wrong?"

Police say Simmons and Gallant planned to flee Virginia and cross in to Canada, but tonight they're both in the county jail.

Simmons and Gallant each face six charges including burglary, grand larceny, and conspiracy to commit capital murder.

No family members ended up being hurt.

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