Jazz drummer Lawrence “Lo” Leathers, a two-time Grammy winner who was a beloved member of New York’s straight-ahead modern jazz scene, was found lying in a stairwell of his Bronx apartment building on the late morning of June 2. Emergency medical technicians declared him dead at the scene, as first reported by Newark radio station WBGO.
The 37-year-old drummer was apparently the victim of an assault. The New York City Medical Examiner ruled that Leathers’ death resulted from “homicidal asphyxiation with compression of the neck.” The NYPD arrested Lisa Harris, 41—who lived with Leathers in his East 141st Street apartment in the Bronx’s Mott Haven neighborhood—and Sterling Aguilar, 28, of Brooklyn in connection with Leathers’ death. Ann Shelton, New York’s Deputy Commissioner of Public Information, announced that both suspects had been charged on June 3 with assault; according to the New York Daily News, charges have since been upgraded to criminally negligent homicide and manslaughter.