Father of Nebraska Teen Killed in Triple Murder Speaks Out

December 28, 2017 Updated: December 28, 2017

A Nebraska teen was killed in a triple homicide earlier this week—now the father is speaking out.

Leonna Dalton-Phillip, 18, died Tuesday, Dec. 26, after being shot with her grandparents—John and Jean Dalton—at their home located near 37th and Spaulding, ABC affiliate KETV reported. All three of them died.

Her father, Claude Phillip, had just talked with his daughter about college plans and spent Christmas day with her.

“I never thought I would be going through this,” Claude told KETV, from his home in Des Moines.

He said he last saw his daughter the day before her death when he dropped her off on Monday at her grandparent’s home.

“Who would have knew that when I dropped her off on Christmas and I kissed her on her forehead and told her that I love her and she told me, ‘I love you daddy’, she gave me a big hug and I held her for a minute and hopped on the highway, that would be the last time I see my daughter alive,” Claude told KETV.

John W. Dalton Jr., the couple’s son, was arrested by police on Wednesday afternoon, according to ABC News. He was charged with first-degree murder in connection with the homicides.

As of writing, authorities had not yet found a motive.

Claude told NBC affiliate WOWT he was left emotionally devastated, “I’ll never forgive him for this,” in reference to the suspect.

“I hate him for this,” he told WOWT. “He took my daughter. I know you’re not supposed to hate somebody but he took an innocent. He took his mom.”

“I’m devastated man. I’m devastated. I’m hurt. I can’t even explain the pain that I feel – like I wouldn’t wish this on anybody,” he said. “I mean it was senseless. It didn’t have to happen.”

The father said Leonna was a senior at Burke High School and was a honors student there. She was also the captain of the drill team.

Claude told KETV that he hadn’t seen John Dalton Jr. in years. He said his daughter did not like to be near him, adding that she told him John was not who he used to be after getting out of prison.

John W. Dalton Jr. is seen in this undated booking photo. (Omaha Police Department)

The suspect had served 11 years previously for killing his wife in 1998.

“She just kinda felt he wasn’t right and she had the right feeling because she is gone by his hands, he did this and it hurts,” Phillip told KETV.

On Wednesday, the father took to Facebook to thank the community for their support.

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