Grammy Award-winning jazz musician Lawrence Leathers died at age 37 Sunday after an alleged attack.
Leathers, who launched a world-renowned music career playing the drums after attending The Juilliard School, was murdered during an assault at his apartment on East 141st Street in the Bronx neighborhood of Mott Haven, according to published reports.
The drummer was found unresponsive in his building’s stairwell, having died from homicidal asphyxia with compression of the neck, New York City’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner confirmed to People.
Leathers’ death occurred during an argument with his girlfriend, 41-year-old Lisa Harris, and at some point mid-fight, a 28-year-old Brooklyn chef named Sterling Aguilar intervened, authorities said.
The official complaint alleges that Aguilar repeatedly punched Leathers in the face while Harris held him in a deadly chokehold. Once Leathers fell unconscious, prosecutors claim that Aguilar then dumped his body in the stairwell.
Leathers’ landlord reported finding his body, telling the New York Daily News: “I touched his neck and I said, ‘This boy is dead.'”
Both Harris and Aguilar were initially charged with assault, but those charges have since been upgraded to first- and second-degree manslaughter and criminal negligent homicide.
Leathers was born in Michigan but moved to New York to attend Julliard, after finding a passion for music at age 15. He went on to win two Grammys with the Aaron Diehl Trio for backing jazz vocalist Cecile McLorin Salvant on the albums Dreams and Daggers and For One to Love.
A beloved fixture on New York’s jazz scene, Leathers regularly performed at Smalls Jazz Club and Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.
You can watch a performance featuring Leathers below.