Derrick Todd Lee, a Black Male was linked by DNA to seven sex-related murders in the Baton Rouge and Lafayette Area of Southern Louisiana in 2004. He was formally charged with the murders of six of the women. (14) (15)
In 1992 Connie Warner had vanished from her home in the Oak Shadows subdivision of Zachary, Louisiana. Eleven days later her body was found lying in a ditch near to Baton Rouge. Three months after Warner’s murder Derrick Todd Lee was arrested near Oak Shadows subdivision when a man came home and caught Lee inside his home. He had two daughters who were not home when Lee broke into the house. Two months later Lee was arrested again for breaking into a house and beating a man before making off with the man’s cash. In April, 1993 two teenagers were found beaten in their car by a patrol officer. The offender had fled when the police cruiser pulled up on the vehicle. The female victim provided a description of a Black male as her attacker. In the interim Lee spent a year in prison for the burglaries.
In 1995 Derrick Todd Lee was picked up in Lake Charles, Louisiana for peeping into windows. In July, 1997 The Zachary Police department began receiving complaints of women on the Oak Shadows district of a “Peeping Tom.” Detective David McDavid identified Derrick Todd Lee as the offender, who received probation for the incidents. In August, 1999 Lee got picked up on stalking and peeping charged in nearby West Feliciana Parish. Once again he got two more years of probation and a$300 fine.
On April 28, 1998, 28-year-old Randi Mebruer, was snatched from her Zachary. Louisiana home in the subdivision of Oak Shadows as her 3-year-old son slept in his bed. This was six years after the Connie Warner homicide and within the immediate proximity of the 1992 murder. Mebruer’s body was never found, but her murder was later linked to Derrick Todd Lee in 2004. In 2000 a judge in Feliciana Parish sentenced Lee to prison for beating his girlfriend in a bar. Lee got out in January 2001.
In September, 2001 Baton Rouge began to experience the sex-related murders of several women. The first three victims, all of whom were White, were found in their homes.
On September 24, 2001, Forty-one year-old Gina Wilson Green, who was a nurse, was found strangled in her home. Evidence suggested that she had been sexually assaulted.
On January 14, 2002 across the river from Baton Rouge, the body of Geralyn DeSoto was found in her mobile home. She had been stabbed and her throat was cut.
Five months later on May 31, 2002, the body of 21-year old Charlotte Pace was found in her Baton Rouge Home. She had been stabbed over 80 times.
On July 12, 2002, 44-year-old Pam Kinamore disappeared from her home. Four days later, her body was found floating in a body of water 30 miles away in Whiskey Bay off of Route I-10. All of the victims had been strangled or stabbed.
In July, 2002 The Baton Rouge Police Department hosted a meeting of local law enforcement law enforcement investigators to find out how many cases were linked. A Task Force consisting The Baton Rouge Police Department and The East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office had been established to look into the four murders, which had been linked through DNA to one killer.
Lt. David McDavid from the Zachary Police Department attended the meeting and advised the group that he and Attorney General Investigator Dannie Mixon believed that Derrick Todd Lee was their most probable suspect. McDavid presented his three cases to the group. He explained The Connie Warner murder which had taken place in 1992 and the abduction and disappearance of Randi Mebruer in1998. He also explained the 1993 attack on a couple who had been parked in their car by an unknown Black male, as well as the series Burglaries and “Peeping Tom” incidents attributed to Lee.
However, the lead agencies dismissed his suggestions because the FBI profile, which had been prepared for this case indicated that the serial killer was a White male and Derrick Todd, Lee, who was Black did not fit the profile. The Louisiana Multi-Agency Task Force focused on an UNSUB White male as described in the FBI profile as twenty-five to thirty-five years of age and lived within the area. DNA samples were taken from hundreds of white males for comparison to the DNA evidence, which had linked the four victims.
On November 21, 2002, The Serial Killer struck again outside Baton Rouge. This time the victim was a Black female. Trineisha Columb was visiting her mother’s grave in St. Landry Parish when she went missing. Her car was found nearby. Three days later her body was discovered twenty miles away in a wooded area by a hunter. She had been beaten to death. DNA linked this case to the murders of Green, Pace and Kinamore.
On March 3, 2003 Carrie Lyn Yoder, a 26 year old LSU Grad Student was abducted from her home as she was unloading groceries. Ten days later, her body was found floating in Whiskey Bay. This was just a mile from where Pam Kinamore’s body had been found in July, 2001. Yoder had been beaten and strangled as well as raped. The DNA linked her death to the other women.
Even though The Louisiana Multi-Agency Task Force had dismissed their theories, Lt. David McDavid and Investigator Dannie Mixon were sure that Derrick Todd Lee was the most viable suspect in these killings and continued to look into Lee’s activities.
In 2003, The Louisiana Multi-Agency Task Force, which had been bogged down for almost a year looking for the UNSUB White Male decided to send their evidence out to a private lab DNA Print Genomics, Inc. for analysis. Biographical Ancestry is the heritable component of race based on Ancestry Informative Markers of which there are four main continental groups; East Asian, sub-Saharan, Indo-European and Native American. The lab informed them that their suspect was 85% sub-Saharan and 15% Native American in other words Black NOT White.
This research was totally reliant upon secondary sources of information. Multiple sources of information were examined for each case whenever available. However, it was often not possible to know how much information had been recycled from one source to another. The data were collected from various news sources, some acquired through Lexus/Nexis as well as Google Alerts, The Internet and police files which the author had acquired during professional consultations.
The initial challenge for this study was to isolate a specific population of offenders described as serial murderers. The definition used was “The unlawful killing of two or more persons by the same offender(s) in separate events.” (Department of Justice, 2005)(16)