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Archive for Thursday, May 29, 2003

Suspect in serial killings returns to Louisiana

May 29, 2003

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— The capture of the man wanted in the serial killings of five women in Louisiana was met with relief Wednesday -- as well as questions about whether investigators missed or discarded clues that could have saved some of the victims.

Ultimately, it was not the task force in charge of the 10-month investigation that zeroed in on Derrick Todd Lee as the suspect. Instead, it was an investigator working on two seemingly unrelated slayings who obtained the DNA that implicated Lee.

Lynne Marino, the mother of the killer's third victim, Pam Kinamore, said Lee's history of arrests in neighboring towns for stalking, attempted murder and peeping into homes should have made police check out his DNA years ago.

"Just think how many lives we could have saved if somebody had put these pieces together and gotten this monster years ago," Marino said. "That's my child. Do you think I'm going to be a good sport about how many mistakes they made?"

Lee, 34, was arrested Tuesday outside an Atlanta tire store and was flown back Wednesday to Louisiana after waiving extradition.

He was booked Wednesday night into the East Baton Rouge Parish prison on charges of first-degree murder and aggravated rape in the deaths of Kinamore and three other Baton Rouge women -- Carrie Yoder, Gina Wilson Green and Charlotte Murray Pace.

In the Kinamore case, Lee also faces charges of second-degree kidnapping and aggravated burglary.

Lee is expected to make a court appearance today. It could not be determined whether he had an attorney.

Mayor Bobby Simpson said the task force's elation over the capture of Lee moved from "unbelievable relief to anger" when it was suggested that the investigators mishandled the case. Simpson said the criticism of the task force, a team of local, state and federal law enforcement officials, was unfair.

Marino said she believed police relied too heavily on an FBI profile that said the serial killer was probably white and had trouble interacting with women. Lee is a black man described as charming with women.

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