Derrick Todd Lee, Baton Rouge Serial Killer
Tying the Loose Ends
Prosecutors, who are seeking the death penalty for Derrick Todd Lee, suggested that they have DNA evidence that links Lee to 7 murders. The women Lee is charged with killing include Gina Green, Charlotte Pace, Trineisha Colomb, Pam Kinamore, Carrie Yoder, Randi Mebruer, who was linked by DNA to Lee in February 2004 and Geralyn DeSoto, 21, who was found beaten and stabbed to death on January 14, 2002 at her Addis, Louisiana mobile home. During a January 2004 hearing into the murder of Charlotte Murray Pace, lead prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney John Sinquefield, sought permission to combine all the evidence from the other cases to use in the upcoming trial scheduled for May. According to Melinda Deslatte's January 14th 2004 AP Worldstream article, "state law allows prosecutors to use evidence from other crimes if they can convince a judge that those offenses are similar enough to the one's being tried to constitute a pattern."
Deslatte reported that another key piece of evidence that prosecutors hoped to use during the trial was the testimony from Diane Alexander, a Beaux Bridge nurse who testified at the hearing that Lee beat, attempted to rape and strangle her at her home in 2002. Alexander would have likely been killed had her son not arrived at the trailer during the attack and frightened Lee away. Despite the evidence, Lee continued to plead innocent to all of the charges.
In May 2004, a state appeals court ruled that combined evidence from the cases was admissible at Pace's trial, which was delayed several months, AP online reported in May 2004. The evidence included DNA links to the victims, as well as Alexander's testimony. The decision angered Lee's lawyers who, according to AP Online, believed that the evidence was improperly obtained because police used a subpoena instead of a search warrant.
In the meantime, Lee's trial for the DeSoto murder was scheduled to take place in August 2004. Deslatte reported in a July 2004 article that state attorney Tony Clayton was prosecuting him for second-degree murder because he couldn't, "prove an underlying felony, such as forced entry or rape, which is required for a first-degree murder charge in Louisiana." Deslatte said that prosecutors planned to use evidence from other crimes attributed to Lee, including evidence from the Colomb case and the attack on Alexander. According to a July 31, 2004 article in The Advertiser, Lee's attorney Tommy Thompson argued to delay the trial because he wasn't granted enough time or money to properly prepare for the case or review the evidence given to him by prosecutors. However, his plea was denied by the state Supreme Court