La. Killings Suspect Guilty; Defense Cites Media


Only two hours after prosecutors told jurors that victim Geralyn Barr DeSoto was “screaming out” to them through crime-scene evidence, a jury convicted suspected serial killer Derrick Todd Lee in the first of four murder trials. Lee, portrayed by prosecutors as a cold-blooded killer with “ice water running through his veins,” showed no emotion when he heard the jury’s 11-1 vote to convict. Lee, who has been linked to the deaths of seven women and an attack on an eighth woman who survived, is scheduled to go on trial again next month. If Lee, 35, is convicted there of killing Charlotte Murray Pace, he would face the death penalty.

Lee’s public defender, Tommy Thompson, instead of trying to rebut prosecutors’ evidence about boot prints, DNA, or the alleged murder weapon — a small paring knife — called witnesses who focused primarily on DeSoto’s troubled marriage.

For months after the murder, investigators had suspected that Darren DeSoto might have killed his wife. Alluding to the publicity surrounding Lee’s case, Thompson asked the jury, “Are we going to try the case on emotion and media hype? Hell, then drag him out right now, stick him beneath a tree, hang him up and let him die.”


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