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Lawrence “Lo” Leathers 1981-2019

Grammy-winning drummer and musical partner of Aaron Diehl and Cécile McLorin Salvant was victim of apparent assault; investigation continues

Lawrence "Lo" Leathers
Lawrence “Lo” Leathers at Smalls, New York City, March 26, 2017 (photo: Pablo Reyes)

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.

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Originally Published

Michael J. West

Michael J. West is a jazz journalist in Washington, D.C. In addition to his work on the national and international jazz scenes, he has been covering D.C.’s local jazz community since 2009. He is also a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader, and as such spends most days either hunkered down at a screen or inside his very big headphones. He lives in Washington with his wife and two children.