Derrick Todd Lee, a.k.a. "The Baton Rouge Serial Killer", was a serial killer, rapist, and robber active in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His murders coincided with those of another Baton Rouge-based serial killer, Sean Vincent Gillis.
Born on November 5, 1968, at St. Francisville, as one of four children, Lee was physically abused by his stepfather, abuse that was known by his domineering mother who never intervened. Mentally challenged, Lee was put in special-education classes and was bullied by classmates, who called him "retarded". At the age of 13, on November 8, 1981, he was arrested for burglarizing and vandalizing a candy store, and on the same day, he assaulted a woman in front of his mother. Three years later, on August 8, he was arrested on suspicion of murdering a civilian, but was released. He also set his own car on fire in order to collect the insurance money; it is likely the scheme failed. Then, on July 2, 1988, Lee was arrested for attempting to rob another civilian, but the charges were reduced and he shortly left jail. Sometime on 1988, he met one Jaqueline Sims and married her on August 17 of the same year, in Solitude, Louisiana. Their relationship afterwards became strained, as he kept slapping her and once threatened her father with a gun.
Killings, Capture and Incarceration
At some point during 1998, Lee snapped for an unspecified reason and started killing women. Starting with 28-year-old Randi Mebruer, whose body was never found, Lee then murdered six more women in a six-year span. All the while, he continuously got himself arrested for unrelated crimes, and also began cheating on his wife with an unknowing woman named Consandra Green, whom he would later threaten to kill, then beat, and got arrested as a result. The crimes attracted the attention of authorities, who gave the then-unidentified perpetrator the nickname of "The Baton Rouge Serial Killer". For a while, Lee was suspected as the murderer of Randi Mebruer and was put under police watch.
During May 2003, investigators have found a match to the DNA samples taken from Lee's final victim, 26-year-old Carrie Yoder, and pin Lee as the key suspect. At that time, Lee had fled with his family to Chicago, Illinois, and then Atlanta, Georgia to escape the murder charges. It took a joint FBI-metropolitan Atlanta police force squad to apprehend Lee in a local hotel and he was returned to Louisiana, where the authorities discovered Lee's already-extensive rap sheet. The police department was immediately criticized by Baton Rouge residents due to the investigation's shift of focus onto a man of color, as well as the fact that they overlooked him when Lee was suspected of the murders of Randi Mebruer and 41-year-old Connie Warner. They decided that DNA tests for the DNA found at the Mebruer scene was too expensive to pursue.
Authorities were able to pin Mebruer's murder onto Lee through DNA at the very end of the case, but they were unable to trace a connection between Lee and Warner and she remains listed as one of his suspected victims. Her body was dumped outside during the time of Hurricane Andrew and no DNA remained when her body was discovered. As for Lee, he was held in the East Baton Rouge's Parish Prison, with the Baton Rouge Senior Assistant District Attorney John Sinquefield seeking the death penalty for him if convicted. During his trial, Lee faced many allegations against him and was being charged for seven counts of murder. In the end, Lee was found guilty for the murders of confirmed victims Geralyn DeSoto and Charlotte Pace.
The victims' families were both traumatized and exhausted by the capital case trial and decided to discontinue prosecution after he received the death penalty in the prosecution of Murray (Charlotte) Pace. The defense argued that Lee should be exempted from the death penalty as he had an IQ between 62 and 65 (a mentally-challenged convict with an IQ below 70 would be unable to understand the seriousness of the crimes committed and should be excluded from being sentenced to death). However, due to Lee's adequate decision-making and his past work experience including reading schematics and passing the truck driving license test, the jury rejected the statement that Lee was mentally-challenged and decided to sentence him to death. On December 2004, the sentence was given out and Lee was put on death row. On January 21, 2016, Lee died while awaiting execution of his sentence. He had been housed at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, Louisiana, and experienced heart-related issues that required a pacemaker. He was transported to an area hospital where he later died.
Targeting random women, who were all successful and in the working class, Lee attacked his victims in their homes, the exception being Treneisha Colomb, who was attacked near the grave site of her mother. He would kill them through various ways, such as strangulation, stabbing, and bludgeoning. He would also sexually assault them before their deaths.
The initial profile given about the Baton Rouge murders suggested that the perpetrator was an apathetic white male between the ages of 25 and 35 who lives with others. He would act out in anger and be very controlling, and is also unable to handle rejection well and prone to retaliate. Based on the killer's ability to carry a body over rough terrain, he is physically strong and possibly works in a job that requires strength and also doesn't involve interaction with the public in any way. Though he sees himself as attractive to women, he, in actuality, is socially awkward around them. His socio-economic status is average or below, with the finances being tight. He spends time watching women and develops information about his victims; he doesn't just follow them from a distance and he will make at least one attempt at interaction, in which he is viewed as harmless. The killer gets a thrill from taking the risks, and this impulsive behavior suggests that he might've been arrested before for minor offenses in the past that involve stalking and home intrusions. He is determined, mission-oriented, and cool under pressure. He follows the investigation through the news, and could talk about his victims and make comments about the investigation upon being arrested. He is anxious over being apprehended, but is also confident that an event of such won't happen.
- November 8, 1981:
- A victimless act of vandalism and burglary at a candy store
- Unnamed woman (assaulted)
- Unspecified date: Unnamed victim (possibly; the charges were dropped)
- August 8: A victimless car arson
- August 23, 1992: Connie Lynn Warner, 41 (possibly; bludgeoned with a hammer; her body was found ten days later)
- January 1: Melvin Foster, 73 (beaten with a stick and robbed; survived)
- April 4: An unnamed teenage couple (assaulted with a six-foot harvesting tool; both survived)
- September 24: A victmless robbery at a Salvation Army clothes drop-off
- June 1, 1997: Eugenie Boisfontaine (beaten to death; her body was found on August 7)
- April 18, 1998 (disappeared): Randi Mebruer, 28 (raped, beaten, and stabbed)
- June 1, 1999: Collette Walker (stalked only on two separate occasions)
- January 22, 2000:
- Consandra Green (his girlfriend; beaten, but survived)
- Unnamed deputy (attempted to run over with a car)
- September 24: Gina Wilson Green, 41 (raped and strangled)
- September 26: Jaqueline Lee (née Sims) (possibly assaulted; the charges were dropped)
- January 14: Geralyn Barr DeSoto, 21 (raped, beaten, and stabbed)
- May 23: Christine Moore, 23 (possibly; killed by blunt-force trauma; her body was found on June 16)
- May 31: Charlotte Murray Pace, 21 (raped and stabbed 83 times)
- July 9: Diane Alexander (attempted; beaten, strangled, and tried to rape; survived)
- July 12-16: Pamela Piglia Kinmore, 44 (raped, beaten, and slashed her throat)
- November 21: Treneisha "Dene" Colomb, 23 (raped and bludgeoned with a tree branch)
- December 25 (disappeared): Mary Ann Fowler (possibly; her body has never been found)
- March 3, 2003 (disappeared): Carrie Lynn Yoder, 26 (raped, beaten, and asphyxiated)
- Note: During his killings, Lee was arrested numerous times for unrelated incidents of robbery, trespassing, and peeping.
On Criminal Minds
Lee was mentioned in the Season Three episodes Children of the Dark and Tabula Rasa. In the former episode, Reid compares a myth in which Lee attracted his victims with the videotape of a crying baby to how one of the episode's unsubs uses a dead cat to lure in his victims. In the latter episode, Lee is brought up during the trial of Brian Matloff by the defense lawyer as an example of failures of profiling, referring to the profile of Lee before he was caught, which said that the perpetrator of his murders would be white and coming from the city, but turned out to be black and from the suburbs.
In Nanny Dearest, Lee wasn't mentioned, but the episode's unsub's method of luring in his victims with the recording of a crying baby is obviously based on the aforementioned myth. Also, while Lee wasn't mentioned in The Last Word, the fact that he was active at the same time as Sean Vincent Gillis seems to be one of the many inspirations for the episode's prominent unsubs, The Mill Creek Killer and The Hollow Man. In addition, while Lee wasn't mentioned in Tribute, a marker denoting to an infamous serial killer, seen on Reid's map of infamous serial killers by location, could be seen pointing to Baton Rouge's approximate location, undoubtedly as a reference to Lee.
Lee may have also inspired Ben Bradstone. Both were serial killers and rapists who were mentally challenged and bullied in their adolescences because of it. They also usually targeted low-risk women, raping them and killing them by stabbing them to death (although this was only one of Lee's kill methods).
- Wikipedia's article about Lee
- TruTV Crime Library articles about Lee
- Summary about Lee's life by the Radford University Department of Psychology
- KPLCtv's online article about Connie Warner
- About.com's article about Lee's victims
- Susan D. Mustafa's article about Lee's victims
- WAFB's article about Lee's death