Victims’ family finding closure in charges for 1989 murders

Posted at 11:16 PM, Oct 15, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-15 23:44:52-04

MUSKEGON, Mich.- Two murders in Muskegon Heights Tuesday are bringing closure to a family that’s waited 25 years to see Leon Means charged with their loved ones' murders.

In particular, the man who found his mother and sister dead in 1989 and was named a suspect himself is finding closure after never stopping until justice was brought for his family.

Then a young man in his 20s, Celestino Herrera discovered the unimaginable.

“When I found them my mom, she was stabbed 15 times, shot once in her chest. My sister was stabbed over 30 times and they had been dead for 10 days,” he said.

His mother 48-year-old Linda and his 30-year-old sister Cynthia had been murdered. Celestino says he knew from day one his sister’s husband Leon Means was responsible.

Means had escaped from prison at the time of the murders.

He was charged with the stabbing deaths in 1989, but those charges were later dropped in hopes of building a stronger case against him for other felonies.

“Better late than never and it came at the bad expense of two other women’s lives,” Celestino said. “I’m sorry it had to come like that but if they had found him before and charged him he would have never got out and these two ladies would still be alive.”

Celestino says he’s been pressing police and prosecutors for an arrest for 25 years, the whole time fighting the emotional scars that followed the murders.

“I found them June 9, 1989 and they took me right into the police station and held me,” he said.

He says he took two or three polygraph tests and passed them all.

But still, the stigma and speculation continued.

“I had to move to Freemont because my name was smeared and people talk and I couldn’t get employment in Muskegon back then,” he said.

Now, he has a message for Linda and Cynthia.

“He’s being brought up for everything he’s done to you,” he said.