Hey, y’all. Today I have the tale of the Baton Rouge Serial Killer aka Derrick Todd Lee. Lee was a American serial killer who operated in the Baton Rouge area during the late 1990s and early 2000s, and during that time, he raped and killed seven women in the area. Let’s get into it.
Derrick Todd Lee was born on November 5, 1968, in St. Francisville, Louisiana. As one of four children, he unfortunately experienced physical abuse from his stepfather, which his mother turned a blind eye to. To make matters worse, he was also placed in special education classes and bullied by classmates.
In 1981, when he was just 13 years old, Lee found himself in hot water after burglarizing and vandalizing a candy store, and then he assaulted a woman in front of his mother on the same day. Three years later, he was suspected of murder but eventually released.
Lee even tried to cash in on his car insurance by setting his vehicle on fire. Unfortunately for Lee, the scheme went up in smoke (get it?).
Sometime in 1988, he met Jacqueline Denise Sims. They tied the knot the same year in Solitude, Louisiana. But the relationship was not sunshine and rainbows. Lee often beat Jacqueline and threatened her dad with a gun.
Before I jump into the full sequence of events I want to skip to the beginning of the end of Derrick Todd Lee’s killing spree.
In 2002, Derrick Todd Lee made the grave mistake of trying to assault Dianne Alexander. Derrick broke into her home and attempted to rape Dianne. But Dianne’s son was not having it and scared Lee off before he could finish his dirty work. Dianne’s son was even able to provide a description of Lee’s car to the police. And Dianne was able to provide police with a detailed description of Lee, which eventually led to his capture.
In 1998, Lee escalated to serial murder and earned the moniker the Baton Rouge Serial Killer.
April 18, 1998-Randi Mebruer
Randi Mebruer (28) was a home-health nurse who was last spotted at a local video store near her home in Zachary, Louisiana, in 1998. Randi and her son made it home from their video store trip, but later Randi’s son was found playing in the yard by a neighbor and he told the neighbor that his mother was “lost.”
Unfortunately, she hasn’t been seen since. There was blood and evidence of a struggle found in her home, leading investigators to believe that she was assaulted and her body taken elsewhere. In 2004, Derrick Todd Lee was linked to the crime scene through DNA and booked for her first-degree murder. Despite their efforts, the police have yet to locate any trace of Randi.
June 1, 1999-Collette Walker
Collette Walker, a resident of St. Francisville, Louisiana, pressed charges for stalking against Lee in June 1999, after he forcefully entered her home in an attempt to persuade her into a romantic relationship. Somehow, Collette was able to escort him out of her apartment. Derrick left her with his phone number and suggested that she contact him. A few days later, a neighbor informed Collette of a man suspiciously hanging around her residence, and she caught the peeping tom spying on her through her window. Collette contacted the authorities and then moved. I do not blame her one bit.
January 22, 2000-Consandra Green
Lee was charged with attempted first-degree murder for brutally kicking and stomping his girlfriend, Consandra Green, during an altercation at a bar over his inappropriate behavior towards another woman. He then attempted to escape from the authorities and reportedly tried to hit a sheriff’s deputy with a car. As a result, Lee was sentenced to two years in prison for the offense.
September 24, 2001-Gina Wilson Green
On September 23, 2001, Gina Wilson Green (39) was sexually assaulted and killed at her residence on Stanford Avenue in Baton Rouge. The following day, a colleague went to her home to inquire about her absence from work and found her lifeless body. The coroner determined that her cause of death was suffocation.
January 14, 2002-Geralyn Barr DeSoto
On January 14, 2002, Geralyn Barr DeSoto (21) was fatally stabbed and nearly decapitated at her residence near Highway 1 in Addis, Louisiana, situated on the opposite side of the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge. Her spouse, Darren, stumbled upon her lifeless body upon returning from work. Although he was the initial suspect in her killing, the inquiry eventually revealed DNA proof implicating Lee in the offense.
May 31, 2002-Charlotte Murray Pace
On May 31, 2002, Charlotte Murray Pace (22) was brutally raped and fatally stabbed in her Sharlo Avenue residence in Baton Rouge. Murray had recently relocated from Stanford Avenue, where Gina Wilson Green had met a similar fate. Murray had been stabbed 83 times with a flathead screwdriver. Charlotte had graduated with her MBA from LSU only days before her murder.
July 12, 2002-Pamela Piglia Kinmore
On July 12, 2002, Pamela Piglia Kinamore (44) vanished from her residence in Briarwood Estates located in Baton Rouge. Four days later, her corpse was found beneath the Whiskey Bay Bridge west of Baton Rouge. She was sexually assaulted and her neck had been slashed so deep that she was nearly decapitated.
November 21, 2002-Treneisha Dené Colomb
On November 21, 2002, Trineisha Dené Colomb (23) went missing from Grand Coteau, Louisiana, while visiting her mother’s grave. Three days later, a hunter found her lifeless body in a wooded area near Renaud Drive in Scott, Louisiana. She had been sexually assaulted and brutally beaten to death while she was still grieving the loss of her mother, who had passed away just seven months prior.
March 3, 2003-Carrie Lynn Yoder
Carrie Lynn Yoder disappeared from her Baton Rouge home on Dodson Avenue on March 3, 2003, shortly after returning from a trip to New Orleans to celebrate Mardi Gras. Her body was found floating under the Whiskey Bay Bridge ten days later, and it was discovered that she had been subjected to sexual assault, physical abuse, and strangulation. Carrie was originally from Tampa, Florida and was a graduate student at LSU at the time of her murder.
August 1992-Connie Lynn Warner
Connie Lynn Warner (41) went missing from her home in Zachary, Louisiana in either August 23 or 24, 1992. She was found dead on Sorrel Street near Capitol Lake on September 2, 1992, near the state capitol building. Hurricane Andrew struck Baton Rouge on August 26, washing away all clues about the attacker. The investigation determined that Connie died due to a skull fracture caused by a beating.
June 13,1997-Eugenie Boisfontaine
Eugenie Boisfontaine (34) disappeared on June 13, 1997, from either her home on Stanford Avenue or while walking around LSU lakes. The next day, her credit cards were found arranged in a circle near the lakes by a visiting professor. She was found dead on August 7, submerged in Bayou Manchac near the Alligator Bayou Bar, with a skull fracture resulting from a brutal assault. It is suspected that Boisfontaine was one of Derrick Todd Lee’s victims, as she was close to his first victim on Stanford Avenue, although this has not been officially confirmed.
May 23, 2002-Christine Moore
In May 2002, while jogging on River Road in Baton Rouge, Christine Moore (23) went missing, coincidentally close to the residence of Charlotte Murray Pace who was murdered a week later. Her remains were found on June 16 in a nearby ravine, close to the Ebenezer Baptist Church and several miles down River Road, where dogs were found scavenging. The cause of her death was identified as blunt force trauma leading to a skull fracture. Christine was studying for a master’s degree at LSU prior to her disappearance.
December 24, 2002-Mari Ann Fowler
Mari Ann Fowler (65) disappeared on Christmas Eve of 2002 from the parking lot of a Subway restaurant in Port Allen, Louisiana, and her body has never been found. She was the wife of a former commissioner of elections who was imprisoned at the time, and she bore a remarkable resemblance to Lynne Marino, the mother of Pam Kinamore. Mari Ann was on her way to visit her husband in prison when she vanished. Interestingly, about 20 minutes before her disappearance, Derrick Todd Lee’s cell phone signal was detected by a cell tower only 14 miles away from the location where she was last seen.
When the FBI started connecting these murders, they brought in a profiler to work up a psychological description of the suspect. The profiler believed that the perpetrator must be a white man.
The Baton Rouge serial killer was initially profiled as an unfeeling white male, aged 25 to 35, who lived with others, displayed controlling tendencies and struggled with rejection. This perpetrator possessed a strong physique and held a job that required physical strength and minimal public interaction. Despite his self-perception as desirable to women, the killer’s social awkwardness around them revealed otherwise. He likely had an average or below-average socio-economic status with tight finances. The killer spent time studying his victims, typically making at least one attempt to interact with them before attacking. The thrill of taking risks suggested prior arrests for stalking and home intrusions.
If you’ve paid attention to the photos of Lee, you know that description is inaccurate since Lee is a black man. Did this profile slow down the investigation and result in more murders? It’s hard to say for sure, but it certainly didn’t help. I think that it’s likely that Lee’s voyeurism habits and criminal history would have thrown up more red flags for investigators if they weren’t focused on white men.
The investigation into the murders hit a wall, and the police were left scratching their heads. So, they went back to the drawing board and started testing the DNA of thousands of Caucasian men in the area. But this effort proved to be a wild goose chase, so they turned to DNAPrint Genomics for help. This now-defunct company analyzed the DNA evidence left at the crime scenes and made a breakthrough by generating an ancestry profile that revealed the perpetrator was 85% African.
This revelation breathed new life into the investigation and allowed the authorities to identify a black male suspect in the murder of Geralyn Barr DeSoto. With a more focused search, the investigators found DNA evidence under DeSoto’s fingernails that helped link Lee to the 21-year-old’s death in Addis, Louisiana.
Sean Vincent Gillis
Also throwing a wrench into the investigators’ search for their killer, was the fact that another serial killer was active in the area at the same time as Lee.
Sean Vincent Gillis is an American serial killer and sex offender who tragically took the lives of eight Louisiana women between 1994 and 2004. He was arrested at his home in 2004 and charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Katherine Hall, Johnnie Mae Williams, and Donna Bennett Johnston. Shockingly, Gillis later confessed to these murders and revealed that he had also killed five additional women. Gillis’s first murder was of 82-year-old Ann Bryan in March 1994, and his final victim was Donna Bennett Johnston in 2004, whose body was found in a drainage canal. Gillis was sentenced to life in prison.
In May 2003, investigators found a match to the DNA sample taken from 26-year-old Carrie Yoder, making Derrick Todd Lee the prime suspect in her murder and an eventual arrest warrant. Lee fled to Chicago, Illinois, and later Atlanta, Georgia with his family in an attempt to avoid facing the murder charges. He was ultimately apprehended by a joint FBI and metropolitan Atlanta police force squad in a local hotel and brought back to Louisiana, where authorities uncovered his extensive criminal record.
After a trial that lasted for three days in August 2004, Lee was found guilty by a jury for the first-degree murder of Geralyn DeSoto. The conviction resulted in an automatic life sentence.
In the trial for the murder of Charlotte Murray Pace, the district attorney pursued the death penalty for Lee if he was found guilty. The defense argued that Lee should not receive the death sentence as his IQ was between 62 and 65, which would classify him as mentally challenged and therefore exempt him from being sentenced to death.
But, the jury rejected this argument and sentenced Lee to death based on his past work experience and adequate decision-making. In December 2004, Lee was sentenced to death and placed on death row.
In a separate trial that took place three months later, another jury found Lee guilty of the first-degree murder of Pace, who was killed on May 31, 2002, and the attempted murder of Alexander, both of which were prosecuted by Sinquefield. During the trial, Sinquefield presented evidence from the other murders that helped persuade the jurors that Lee deserved the death penalty.
While still on death row, Lee passed away on January 21, 2016, before he could be executed. He was being held at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana, where he had developed heart disease and received a pacemaker. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he eventually passed away.
How confusing is it that there were two active serial killers in the same area at the same time? Adding the bad profile, it’s a miracle Lee was ever arrested. I hope that his convictions and eventual death brought some peace to his victims’ families.