Suspect arrested in Gentilly triple murder

A week after a woman and two of her adult children were found shot to death in the garage of their Gentilly home, New Orleans police arrested the father of one of the children and accused him of the slayings.

Shawn Peterson, 41, was booked Wednesday night on three counts of first-degree murder, Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas said.

Peterson, who was out on parole on a previous attempted-murder charge, is accused of fatally shooting Christine George, 39, and two of her children, 20-year-old Trisa and 18-year-old Leonard. Peterson is the father of Leonard George and the former boyfriend of Christine George.

The three were found shot to death about 11:05 p.m. Sept. 11 in the garage of their home in the 4400 block of Jeanne Marie Place.

Police had questioned Peterson on Sept. 12 but released him hours later. Serpas said new evidence in the case led detectives to arrest Peterson.

Detectives called Peterson back to police headquarters Wednesday evening and arrested him a short time later.

“These detectives ... never stopped and worked all the way through until tonight,” Serpas said.

The home where Christine George and her children were killed had been the scene of several incidents of domestic violence. Peterson had recently been booted from the residence, relatives said.

Serpas declined to provide details about what police believe led to the shooting but said it was domestic in nature.

Homicide Detective Darrell Doucette said Peterson had “a lot” of violence in his past. His rap sheet goes back to his 18th birthday, and he was booked in July 1989 with attempted first-degree murder. The district attorney dropped that charge.

Two years later, Peterson and five other men were charged with manslaughter and conspiracy to commit manslaughter. Those charges were reduced to conspiracy to commit second-degree murder. He pleaded guilty in September 1992 and accepted a five-year prison sentence.

He was back on the streets by October 1994, at which point he was again arrested, this time on extortion and attempted murder charges. He pleaded guilty the next year to the attempted-murder charge and was sentenced to 20 years in prison without the possibility of parole. Even so, he was released on good-time parole in January 2005.

In March 2007, while still on parole, he filed for a restraining order against Christine George. He said she was stalking him and threatening him and his fiancée.

Three days later, George filed for her own restraining order against Peterson, asking that he be kept away from her and Leonard, who was 12 at the time. She said Peterson was stalking her and the children. She also claimed Peterson had beaten and kicked her.

In June 2008 the fiancée Peterson mentioned in his complaint filed a restraining order against him.

A few months later, Peterson was booked with five counts of aggravated assault and being a felon in possession of a firearm. The assault charges were dropped, but he was give another seven years behind bars on the gun charge and was sent back to prison.

He was released five months ago and was scheduled to be on parole for another five years.

“This was a very dangerous man who was able to kill his own child and longtime girlfriend and her daughter,” Serpas said. “We hope this investigation and subsequent prosecution will result in guilty verdicts.”

Family members have said the shooting that killed the three was an ambush. It happened as Trisa George was returning home after picking up her mother from her shift as a dispatcher for the Police Department.

Christine George’s brother last week said the couple were living together in the Jeanne Marie Place home until Peterson was recently asked to leave. No relatives knew what happened.

But life in the home was far from peaceful.

In January, 2012, police arrested Trisa on a count of aggravated battery after her brother, Leonard, accused her of stabbing him in the thumb with a kitchen knife in a dispute. A year later, the roles were reversed: Trisa George and another brother, Jaron George, now 16, complained of being attacked by Leonard George on Jan. 13.

According to a police report, Leonard George tried to strangle his sister. Jaron broke up the fight, then Leonard drew a handgun and threatened to kill Trisa. Leonard George was booked with attempted murder, aggravated assault, simple assault and simple battery.

The family continued to live together, but Trisa took out a stay-away order against Leonard the next day.