Broward County

An 89-year-old man survived WWII — and now a machete attack by his tenant, cops say

Miami Herald File

Maurice Blanchar is 89, and the morning after Thanksgiving is nursing wounds while trying to get around without his cane.

That’s because Blanchar’s cane was seized by detectives who need it for their criminal investigation.

According to Fort Lauderdale police, Blanchar was attacked with a machete by a man who was renting a studio apartment in his backyard.

Blanchar, the landlord, asked his tenant, Jimmie Lee Leeks, 48, for past due rent and to discuss Leeks’ current living arrangements.

When Blanchar exited the doorway of his property, Leeks “started slicing” Blanchar with his machete, according to the police report.

Blanchar — born in France, a grandfather and a WWII veteran — was left with superficial wounds to his left and right forearm, forehead, shin and outer left thigh.

“The victim would’ve suffered much more severe injuries, but the victim was able to use his walking cane to ward off the attack from the defendant,” Officer Aaron Wright’s report said.

On Thursday night, Blanchar gave an interview to WPLG-Local 10. Not having his cane has left him “feeling weak,” he said.

“I have been through so many things in my life. And one would think, enough is enough.” Blanchar told WPLG. “For $500, you are going to kill a man, because he asked for his rent money? It doesn’t make sense. ... I am just lucky to be alive.”

Leeks, who has several prior arrests on his record, including kidnapping, robbery and cocaine possession dating to 1999, was charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and aggravated battery against a person 65 years or older. He’s being held without bail at Broward County Jail.

Miami Herald Real Time/Breaking News reporter Howard Cohen, a 2017 Media Excellence Awards winner, has covered pop music, theater, health and fitness, obituaries, municipal government and general assignment. He started his career in the Features department at the Miami Herald in 1991.
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