Patti Hubbert, Norman Leighton, and Gerald Morris Murders: Where is Richard Covington Now?

The authorities of Billings, Montana had to deal with three bodies in late 2006. It seemed like an awful string of crimes. All three bodies were eventually linked to a single robbery in an apartment complex. Investigation Discovery’s ‘Murder by Numbers: Dog Days of Murder’ focuses on the slayings of Patti Hubbert, Norman Leighton, and Gerald Morris. So, if you’re wondering what happened and who was responsible for the murders, we’ve got you covered.

How did Norman Leighton, Patti Hubbert and Gerald Morris die?

Patti Hubbert was born January 1952. She has lived in Billings since then for more than two decades. Norman Leighton (69), shared her apartment. Sometime after 6 AM on September 22, 2006, the authorities received a call regarding a fire at Patti and Norman’s apartment. Once the fire was controlled, they discovered Norman and 54-year-old Patti’s bodies in the bedroom.

Norman was lying on the floor and Patti was sleeping on the bed. Both were bound with duct tape, wire hangers, and a telephone cord, with Patti’s mouth being stuffed with a rag and covered with duct tape. Patti died from suffocation while Norman died from blunt-force trauma. The show revealed that they were beat for days and that a fire was set up to conceal the crime.

On September 23, 2006, Gerald Norris (their next-door neighbor) was reported missing by their family. Two weeks later, a worker discovered a body in disarray just a few feet from Billings Road. It was Gerald. He was taken to Gerald’s house and shot in his neck and back using a.44 caliber gun. The three murders were quickly linked by authorities and an extensive investigation ensued.

Who Killed Patti Hubbert and Norman Leighton?

At Patti and Norman’s house, the investigators learned that a lot of money, in addition to a .44-caliber handgun, was missing. The living room looked ransacked and clothes were thrown on to the floor. Police believed Norman and Patti let the killer in, but there was no evidence of forced entry. They tortured the victims for days and eventually ended up killing them.

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The police initially thought Gerald was a possible suspect. However, that stopped when Gerald’s remains turned up two weeks later. His clothes were found with a fabric fiber. It appeared to be from the back of a pickup truck. Furthermore, a single dog hair was found on the rag stuffed in Patti’s mouth. Eventually, the police heard from Gerald’s girlfriend, Marcia Whiteley. She explained to the police that Gerald had left her the previous time she saw him. He was with Richard Covington.

Richard had previously been on the authorities’ radar. In June 2005, there was a fire at Patti and Norman’s house, and it was to cover up a burglary. Richard was a suspect, but he wasn’t charged. Curiously, he also owned a dog. The authorities eventually matched the dog’s hair with the one found on the rag. More damning evidence came in the form of the fiber found on Gerald matching Richard’s car seat.

Gerald Morris

A maintenance man who lived in the apartment also came to the authorities and said that he bought a.44 caliber firearm from Richard. The serial number on the gun matched a card found at Patti and Norman’s apartment, linking him to Gerald’s murder. Authorities believed Richard had tortured Patti & Norman and Gerald was also killed at the time Gerald tried to intervene.

Where is Richard Covington today?

Richard stood trial in February 2010, and the prosecution presented evidence regarding Richard not denying murdering the three of them while talking to a witness, saying he wouldn’t get caught until the authorities did a better job. He was found guilty of murder, robbery and arson. Richard pled guilty to robbing the woman in a parking garage in April 2007 in the previous year.


Richard was 47 years old when he was sentenced to five consecutive life terms without parole in June 2010. These sentences were to run in parallel to the 40-year sentence for the 2007 robbery. Richard was convicted of robbery back in 1981, and was later charged with another offense in 1994. According to prison records, Richard remains at Crossroads Correctional Facility Shelby in Montana.

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