NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Saturday was an emotional day for the family and friends of the four victims beaten to death in Terrytown earlier this month.
Terrance Leonard, 33, is accused of killing his girlfriend, Kristina Riley, and three children with a hammer while they slept inside their apartment early March 6.
Riley, her two children -- Ayden Riley, 10, and Nashawna Riley, 14 -- were laid to rest Saturday (March 23), along with 9-year-old De’ryona Encalade, Riley’s niece.
Loved ones gathered at St. Stephens Baptist Church to say their final goodbye.
“I’ve been to a lot of funerals, I’ve never, never seen nothing like this before,” William Batiste Sr. said.
Darrell Turner, Kristina Riley’s cousin, said the whole ordeal has been surreal.
“It just seems unbelievable, you know. It just seems like a real bad nightmare,” Turner said.
Loved ones of the victims said they are still struggling to come to grips with their tragic deaths.
“My godchild, which is Kristina, didn’t deserve this. She was a very sweet person,” Nyra Bean said.
"I wonder why this fool did this. You know, what made him mess with them?" Turner said.
Bean recalls being there for the births of each of Riley's children.
"Two of my godchild came into this world with her little pursed lips. She was just such a beautiful child. She was my everything because I couldn't have children," Bean said.
Turner said the family was a pillar of their community.
"They got along with everybody. The whole neighborhood's missing them right now, the whole neighborhood. It's not the same no more without them, because everybody's used to looking for them and seeing them," Turner said.
Turner brought the horse he said the children used to ride to send them off.
“All the kids used to ride the horses, you know, and we miss that so much, every day. 'Cause you go there with your horse, and they’re not taking your horse no more, so you know, it’s kind of not the same,” Turner said.
He said their families were close, and had no reason to know that fateful morning would be their last.
"I go there every day. I still do, you know. Even that Wednesday morning I was there, that's that morning. Didn't even know what was happening. We were making plans to go riding that morning," Turner said.
Saturday was a time for the family to grieve and bring to light the dangers of domestic violence.
“It’s all over the news, everybody’s talking about it. To really, physically, finally put my eyes on something like that you know, it brings a lot of stuff to mind. A lot of stuff to mind." Batiste said. “Like man, this could’ve been my family.”
The only surviving victim is 12-year-old Adrianna Riley, who was seriously injured, but survived the attack.
“[I’ll] treasure all my memories with her," Bean said of Riley. [I’ll] treasure everything. When she called Nana, Nana come running, no matter what. [I’ll] fix it. I just wish she would’ve gave me a call."
Leonard is booked on four counts of first-degree murder as well as obstruction of justice and attempted first-degree murder. Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s office has not announced whether or not they plan to seek the death penalty.