Derrick Todd Lee aka the Baton Rouge Serial killer stalked the communities of south Louisiana during the early 2000s. Lee would often take advantage of people’s kindness to commit his crimes. He would charm women with a smile and then force his way into their homes where he would assault them and then murder them. Oxygen’s documentary ‘Mark of a Killer’ explores Lee’s crimes this week. Lee was linked to seven deaths and was convicted of two murders. It is also believed that Lee’s family had a history of mental illness and his father had reportedly suffered from bipolar disorder and psychosis.
Childhood and early crimes
Lee had been raised by his mother and had 13 siblings and half-siblings. He was not particularly bright in school and was enrolled in special education classes. He eventually dropped out during 11th grade, according to court documents. Lee had later dubbed himself a loner. In his neighborhood, Lee had come to be known as a “Peeping Tom” and had been arrested many times throughout his life for stalking, burglary and voyeurism.
Lee was suspected of killing Connie Warner who had gone missing from her home in 1992. Only weeks later, Warner’s badly decomposed body was found nude in a ditch. The ex-boyfriend of Warner’s teenage daughter, Andre Burgos, reported seeing a man who resembled Lee watching the family’s house before Warner died, according to a WAFB report. Despite being a suspect, no charges were ever filed against Lee for the crimes. According to Zachary Police Chief David McDavid who spoke to Advocate newspaper in 2016 said, “We believe in our hearts that he killed Connie, but we can’t prove it.”
He was also suspected of attacking a couple during a 1993 case in a Zachary graveyard. The couple was attacked when they were alone in their car. Several years later when one of the victims, Michelle Chapman, picked Lee out during a police photo lineup, but by then the statute of limitations for the crime had expired. He had been suspected of the death of 28-year-old Randi Mebruer who was kidnapped in 1998.
According to a report, Lee’s suspected victims include:
Randi Mebruer, 28 — April 18, 1998
Gina Wilson Green, 41 — September 24, 2001
Geralyn DeSoto, 21 — January 14, 2002
Charlotte Murray Pace, 22 — May 31, 2002
Diane Alexander — July 9, 2002 (survived)
Pamela Kinamore, 44 — July 12, 2002
Carrie Lynn Yoder, 28 — March 3, 2003
Trineisha Dene Colomb, 23 — November 24, 2002
Warner, Chapman and Mebruer’s crime scenes all had their keys missing which led to the theory that the killer was keeping the keys as souvenirs. In the case of Diane Alexander, Lee had knocked on her door and had requested to use her phone while claiming that he had been lost. He then barged in, tried to rape her, beat her, and attempted to choke her with a phone cord. When he heard a car pull up outside, he fled from the house.
After recovering from her injuries, Diane helped the authorities create a sketch of the man who had attacked her. Till 2002, Lee continued his attacks and killed Charlotte Murray Pace, Pam Kinamore and Trineisha Dene Colomb. He killed his final victim Carrie Lynn Yoder in March 2003.
It was an FBI offender profile who suggested that the suspect was likely to be a white male between the ages of 25 and 35, according to an ABC News report. However, Lee was black and later DNA testing refuted the initial profile and identified the killer “as being 85 percent African ancestry”. WAFB says that it was DNA evidence that linked Lee to evidence from the murders of Green, Pace, Kinamore, Colomb and Yoder. He was also linked by DNA to the Mebruer and DeSoto murders.
Sentencing and death
Lee was found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of DeSoto in 2004 and was given a life sentence. That same year, he was found guilty of first-degree murder in Pace’s death, according to a report. He was sentenced to death by lethal injection but he did not live long enough for the state of Louisiana to carry out its sentence and died in January 2005 from heart disease.