Ex-Marine arrested for Phoenix woman’s murder has history of domestic violence

An ex-Marine accused of killing his Phoenix girlfriend had a history of domestic violence, court documents show.
Published: Aug. 31, 2022 at 8:02 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — An ex-U.S. Marine who was wanted for the murder of a Phoenix woman six years ago has been captured in El Salvador. Raymond Samuel “RJ” McLeod, Jr., 37, was arrested Monday afternoon in the city of Sansonate, about 40 miles west of San Salvador.

McLeod was wanted for the murder of his girlfriend, 30-year-old Krystal Mitchell, on June 10, 2016, in San Diego. Mitchell was found dead inside an apartment and investigators say she had been beaten and strangled. She was a mother of two. According to U.S. Marshals, both McLeod and Mitchell were from Phoenix and had been in San Diego visiting friends.

On Tuesday, Arizona’s Family obtained court paperwork from 2009. It showed McLeod plead guilty to charges of aggravated assault against his then-wife. He was also charged with assaulting a minor, but those charges were dismissed.

In 2010, a year after McLeod pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, the state dropped the charges. Paperwork shows the charges were dropped because McLeod completed the Domestic Violence Diversion Program. Six years later, McLeod was accused of killing his girlfriend Mitchell. Law enforcement said he was the last person to see her alive. “The correlation between domestic violence and the perpetrator of other forms or violence is prevalent,” New Life Center CEO Myriah Mhoon said. “Domestic violence is a cycle, not a one time thing.”

Mhoon says half of female homicide victims in the United States are killed by intimate partners. So she was not surprised to learn McLeod had a previous history of assaulting people close to him. When he was arrested, McLeod was wearing a shirt with the words “coach” and “changing lives” written on the back. Authorities had a tip he was teaching in El Salvador. Mhoon was disturbed that McLeod was pretending to be someone he was not. “What I did find unique or interesting about this story is how cunning people can be. He was externally kind of a champion in what we imagine in our society.” If you are in an abusive relationship or situation at home, there are resources in Phoenix to help you. Click here to learn more.