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Mother Shot, Killed During Home Invasion; Man Arrested

POSTED: 5:46 am EDT September 18, 2006
UPDATED: 3:10 pm EDT September 18, 2006

RIVERDALE -- Authorities have arrested a College Park man following a home invasion that left a Riverdale mother dead.

Leon Phillips Jr., 36, was charged with five felonies, including murder and burglary in the death of Rhonda Rucker, 34, Riverdale Assistant Police Chief Samuel Patterson said.

Rucker's 15-year-old son found her body Friday afternoon lying face down on the floor on a lower level of the family's home. Her head was covered with a white plastic kitchen trash bag and her neck was bound with a telephone cord. She had been shot in the head.

Rucker's 3-year-old son was found locked in an upstairs closet barricaded by a dresser. He was unharmed.

Police said Phillips and an accomplice took a motorcycle, motorcycle jacket and helmet that belonged to Rhonda Rucker's husband, Anthony Rucker, along with a 1996 black Chevy Suburban, a video game machine and some DVDs.

Phillips, riding the stolen motorcycle, was stopped on a routine roadblock check before police knew of the crime, police said. He was arrested when he failed to show proper identification, a license, and proof of insurance. Through a computer check, police learned the motorcycle was registered to Anthony Rucker. Friday afternoon, they got a call about a possible homicide at the Ruckers' address.

"We had not the slightest idea what we had," Patterson said.

Phillips is being held in the Clayton County jail, and has a previous criminal record, Patterson said.

Authorities had no description of Phillips' accomplice.
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