Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Teen Boy Pleads Guilty to Killing Parents

Christian Liewald, Matthew Liewald and Cassie Buckaloo. Family photo.

A 16-year-old North Carolina boy will spend 25 to 32 years in prison for killing his father and his father’s young wife. Matthew Liewald was 15 years old when he shot Christian Liewald, 43 and Cassie Buckaloo, 24, in their Pineville home. Liewald then called 911 and confessed to the killings. According to sutopsy records, Liewald shot his father four times and his stepmother eight times in the head, face and chest.

During a taped police interview, Liewald admitted to the killings and said he was afraid of his father. He told police he wanted to run away to Mexico, adding, “I wasn’t really thinking about what I was doing…I wasn’t thinking about the consequences.” Shortly before the shooting, the elder Liewald had grounded his son for coming home from an amusement park after his curfew. Liewald told police his father had also previously assaulted him by smacking him in the head and choking him. During court hearings, Liewald’s defense argued that Liewald feared his dad and wanted to escape: “He’d always been afraid of his dad,” said attorney Valerie Pearce,” He was just thinking of getting away…He was seeking safety. He had no intent to kill anybody. His only intent was to escape.”

On the night of the shooting, Liewald packed a bag and watched for his parents to return home. As they approached, Liewald turned the corner and opened fire. “This was planned,” said Mecklenburg Assistant District Attorney Bill Bunting. “It was premeditated.”

Liewald pleaded guilty to two counts of second degree murder.

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