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Murder/arson suspects arrested

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - 3:28pm

HAMMOND, La (FOX44) — Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards and LA State Fire Marshal Butch Browning report that through a joint investigation between the TPSO and the State Fire Marshal’s Office, 2 arrests have been made regarding the murder/arson which occurred on North Baptist Road in Hammond on October 24.

Both Heidi Leard, 25, and Ronald Berry, 35, were arrested and charged with Second Degree Murder and Simple Arson as a result of the investigation.

The investigation revealed that Leard arranged to meet with the victim, Charles Ockman, 62, on the evening of October 24, 2011, to perform sexual favors for money.

That evening, Leard, accompanied by Berry, arrived at the North Baptist residence and Leard entered the residence. After some time had passed, Berry made his way into the residence. An argument then ensued between Berry and Ockman. During the argument, Berry stuck Ockman in the head causing him to hit the floor. At this time, Berry tied the victim’s hands behind his back, continued to beat him in the head and forced him into the bathroom. While in the bathroom, Berry submerged the victim’s head into a partially-filled bath tub, where the victim succumbed to his death.

As Berry and Leard fled the scene, they set the interior of the residence on fire. It was reported that the victim was dead prior to the onset of the fire.

Both subjects are now in custody and remain at the Tangipahoa Parish Jail.

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