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Affton man may have been stabbed to death for his car

Friends say Justin Leeman was selling a car and it was stolen after his body was found on his porch

AFFTON, Mo. — Justin Leeman’s friends and family fear that the 41-year-old may have been stabbed to death by someone who stole a car he was selling.

Leeman was selling a sedan. And, after police found his body on his front porch, they discovered that Leeman’s car had been stolen, according to his friends.  

Leeman’s father, Dan Leeman, said police were still trying to determine whether his son was killed during a robbery but added that the Leeman family has forgiven the killer or killers.

“We want them to pay for their crimes while they’re here on earth, but we want them to someday be in heaven with Justin, not in hell,” Dan Leeman said, in a phone interview Monday.

St. Louis County Police spokeswoman Officer Tracy Panus said Monday that she did not have any additional information to release about the killing.

A neighbor found Leeman’s body on the front porch to his home at 1 p.m. Tuesday on the porch of his home in the 7900 block of Hildesheim Avenue.

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A friend who met Leeman at a south St. Louis church five years ago said he didn’t know anyone who would want to hurt Leeman.

 “If I could say one word to describe Justin, it would be ‘selfless’ because he was always willing to help,” said the man who did not want to be identified because the killer remains at large. “If anyone ever needed a ride to church, or anything at all, Justin would be the one I would call.

“Jesus said, ‘I didn’t come to be served, but to serve,’ and ‘I give my life as a ransom for many,’ and, in that way, Justin was so much like Jesus. He wanted to serve. He wanted to help people. That’s why this hurts so bad … because he was so caring, so loving, so serving. He didn’t think about himself a lot. If we could all be like that, it would be a different world.”

Leeman donated about half of the salary he made as a pizza delivery man to the street ministry, Jesus in Disguise, which helps feed, clothe and find shelter and rehabilitation centers for the homeless, its founder Crystal Smith said.

Smith recalled a recent moment when Leeman visited the ministry to deliver a computer it needed and overheard a phone call come in about a little boy who was on the street begging for money in the cold. He helped make sure the ministry brought the child’s family food and clothing as well as find a motel for them to stay until a more permanent solution could be found, Smith said.

She thinks Leeman’s own struggles with a mental health issue inspired him to help others.

“He had a mental health issue that would have limited a lot of other people,” she said without elaborating. “But despite all that, he managed to serve at a level most normal people don’t serve at.

“He had a lot of personal struggles, and how he overcame a lot of them was taking care of the poor. When you see a family with a child standing out in the cold begging for money, your own problems pale in comparison.”

At times, Leeman would deliver clothes, blankets and other supplies to the homeless himself, Smith said.

“Justin had a heart for the poor like nobody I’ve ever seen,” she said. “It’s such a waste of a life.”

He is survived by his parents, a brother and a sister, according to his obituary.

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