What went on in the mind of Derrick Todd Lee a man dubbed the Baton Rouge Serial Killer…
Pretty, popular, smart, 21-year-old Charlotte Murray Pace had everything to live for. But, on Friday 31 May 2002, that was taken from her in the most barbaric way. Charlotte, or Murray as she was to her friends, was murdered in the student apartment she shared. Her roommate found her at around 2pm that fateful day.
The graduate of Louisiana State University had gained a master’s degree in Business Administration just one week before. Now, she’d been brutally stabbed and beaten to death in her own home. Her throat slashed.
The attractive brunette had stab wounds to her heart, head, lungs, liver and hands. Proof she’d tried to fight off her heartless attacker. She’d been raped, too, and had bled to death. Eerily, her killing had the hallmarks of a previous case earlier that year…
Geralyn DeSoto, 21, another LSU graduate student, had been slaughtered in her Addis home in January 2002. She’d been badly beaten, stabbed and her throat cut, too. And her phone was missing – just like Charlotte’s was.
Both women had been murdered between midday and 2pm in their homes. Both were graduates of LSU.
Was there a serial killer on the loose?
In May 2003, after police received a tip, detectives obtained a court order to request a DNA sample from one man.
Derrick Todd Lee.
He’d been overheard talking about the disappearance of a woman back in 1998. On 5 May, Lee gave a DNA sample. He was described as visually agitated and, that same day, he sent his wife Jacqueline to withdraw their two kids from school. Then he went on the run to Atlanta, Georgia.
What did he have to hide?
The DNA tests linked Lee to six murders – including Charlotte and Geralyn – and he was arrested.
But what had made him kill?
Derrick Todd Lee was born in November 1968 to Samuel Ruth and Florence Lee in St Francisville, Louisiana. Not much is known about his childhood.
It’s thought Lee’s dad left shortly after he was born. Some suggest his father suffered from mental illness – bipolar disorder – and was placed in an institution after being charged with the attempted murder of Florence. Lee’s mother later married Coleman Barrow.
Lee is also said to have had a low IQ and struggled at school, being placed in special education classes.
This, coupled with his dad being out of the picture, his mum having remarried, Lee may have felt unloved at home, and not accepted at school.
Then, in 1984, Lee was caught peeping into a woman’s home. After, his rap sheet quickly grew, including arrests for burglary, stalking, voyeurism and even attempted murder.
However, four years on, in 1988, Lee married Jacqueline Sims. They had a son and daughter together. But it seemed it wasn’t enough to help Lee settle down.
In the mid 90s Jacqueline’s father was killed in a plant explosion and she was awarded compensation. With the financial boost Lee started to dress better.
While he worked hard at various manual labour jobs and took his family on outings, he was having affairs, stalking, breaking into houses…
At some point, he met Cassandra Green and the two had an affair. Jacqueline was supposedly aware of the infidelities, but stuck by Lee, who had no empathy or consideration for others. His only motivation was his own pleasure.
From 2001 bodies started turning up in the Baton Rouge area. And, in the September, nurse Gina Wilson Green was raped and strangled. There was no sign of forced entry into her home.
Had she known her killer?
Four months later, Geralyn DeSoto’s body was discovered, quickly followed by Charlotte Murray Pace’s. Chilling similarities were drawn between the two. Both women, for a time, had lived three doors down from each other, and there were no signs of forced entry to Charlotte’s home.
It’s thought Charlotte moved because of Gina’s murder, fearing she was being stalked and might be the killer’s next victim. Sadly, her premonition was correct.
Then, in July 2002, Pamela Kinamore, 44, disappeared from her home. Four days later her body was found. She’d been raped, stabbed to death and her throat slit.
And, that November, Treneisha Dene Colomb, 23, vanished. She’d been grieving over the recent loss of her mother when she was kidnapped from her mum’s burial site. Treneisha was found raped and beaten to death just outside Lafyette, Louisiana.
Finally, 26-year-old Carrie Yoder was living in Baton Rouge when she was snatched from her LSU apartment. Then beaten, raped and strangled to death. Her body was found near where Pamela’s corpse had been discovered.
After Lee’s arrest, his DNA was linked to the deaths of all six women and, in August 2004, Lee stood trial for the second-degree murder of Gerayln DeSoto. DNA evidence taken from her fingernail clippings proved a match to Lee. He was found guilty and sentenced to life without parole.
Despite protestations of Lee being mentally unstable, two months later he was convicted of raping and killing Charlotte Murray Pace. He received death by lethal injection for his heinous crimes.
It’s suspected the so-called Baton Rouge Serial Killer is linked to other unsolved murders in the area.
Still, despite the incriminating evidence, Lee appealed his death sentence, but in 2008 his conviction and sentence were upheld.