There are several theories as to why he shot Leebove. Livingston was a drinker. Some believe that with his heavy drinking Livingston had become paranoid, afraid Leebove was trying to cut him out of the business.
Livingston claimed that Leebove was planning a gang hit on him. How could his cousin and business partner do such a horrible thing after all this time? That fatal night in a drunken rage his fears and paranoia overtook him and he shot Leebove.
Others believe that Leebove had lost favor with the kingpins of the Detroit Purple Gang and they used Livingston to take him out. Knowing that he needed to kill his cousin and long time business associate he probably needed to get drunk to carry out this brutal murder. The truth may never be known. However, Livingston had three very savvy attorneys from Mammoth Oil defending him. They picked the right story.
Jack Livingston was fun, friendly and a respected figure in the community. In fact, while in prison waiting for trial he was released to give the commencement address at a local high school. Hard to believe that a suspected murderer was released to talk to high school students. That is indicative of the high esteem he held with the citizens of Clare. It is even reported that all the prisoners and guards at the jail thought he was a great man.