Image: Sheriff's home
Steve Cannon  /  AP
The home of Jackson County Sheriff John McDaniel became a crime scene as his wife, Mellie, a deputy and two suspects were shot and killed on Tuesday in Marianne, Fla.
updated 1/31/2007 8:59:51 PM ET 2007-02-01T01:59:51

One of the men suspected of killing a sheriff's wife and a deputy was also a suspect in his own wife's death, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

Florida State Attorney Steve Meadows on Wednesday named Lionel Sands, 60, and Daniel Brown, 54, as the men who fatally shot Mellie McDaniel and deputy Harold Michael Altman on Tuesday. Sands and Brown also died.

Sands, a former Army officer, and Brown, who served eight years in a Texas prison for assault, were wearing disguises and carrying plastic restraints, bleach, vinegar and latex gloves in the attack at McDaniel's home in the Florida Panhandle, Meadows said.

McDaniel was the wife of Jackson County Sheriff John McDaniel.

Authorities responding to the attack, including the sheriff, shot and killed Sands and Brown, Meadows said.

The two targeted the McDaniels' home, but officials did not know the motive for the killings, Meadows said.

"What their ultimate plan was died with these two men," he said.

Sands was considered the primary suspect in the June 2001 death of his wife, Gail Joanne Sands, according to Meadows and a March 2006 lawsuit by her life insurance company, AXA Equitable.

He was never been charged in that case, in which Gail Sands died of a blow to her head and her body was found at the bottom of the couple's swimming pool.

An autopsy concluded her death was not accidental, but the case was never solved, according to the sheriff's Web site.

On Tuesday, Mellie McDaniel told her husband over a radio phone that she was being followed home from grocery shopping, and then she screamed at one point, Meadows said

The sheriff called for help, and Altman arrived at McDaniel's home within two minutes, Meadows said.

The sheriff and other officers arrived and got into a gunfight with the suspects, Meadows said. It was unclear whether the sheriff fired any of shots that killed the suspects.

Meadows said authorities were working to ensure the two men had no accomplices or associates.

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