ABC News reported on January 21 that serial killer Derrick Todd Lee, who was sentenced to be executed years ago, has died in a Louisiana hospital. He was transported from the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola to the hospital on Saturday, and died just before 9 a.m. on Thursday. At this time, there is no information being released on the cause of death.
The 47-year-old Lee was sentenced to life for killing 21-year-old Geralyn DeSoto in January 2002, and four months later received the death penalty for the murder of 22-year-old Louisiana State University student Charlotte Murray Pace. In May of 2002, Pace was stabbed 81 times and bludgeoned with an iron. Both women had also had their throats cut. DNA evidence did link him to four other killings in Louisiana between 1998 and 2003. One woman, Diane Alexander, was attacked in July 2002 and was able to testify against Lee in both trials.
“It’s good that he is not there to take up space that will now be filled up by remembering Murray and loving Murray,” Pace’s mother, Ann Pace, told ABC News. She went on to say that Derrick Todd Lee’s death has brought on “a tidal wave of memory.” Pace was a strong advocate for her daughter who could no longer speak for herself, and besides attending every court hearing before Lee’s 2004 conviction, she wrote to legislators and even spoke to prisoners. She said that his death has helped her understand that “all of that was just my way of wanting to keep being Murray’s mom. … I no longer have that way to fight for Murray — to keep being her mother.”
Discovery shared that Department of Public Safety and Corrections spokeswoman Pam Laborde was unable to discuss why Lee was taken to the hospital due to federal and state confidentiality laws. An autopsy will be conducted to determine cause of death. Lee should have been executed “in punishment for the horrible, horrible things he did,” Pace said. “And it will not be. But it is what it is. And he is gone. And that has to be enough.”
The “Killing Fields” debuted on Tuesday, January 5 on Discovery and from the very beginning of the show, Derrick Todd Lee was one of their top suspects. The cold case involving the bludgeoning death in June 1997 of another LSU student, 34-year-old Eugenie Boisfontaine, was reopened and “Killing Fields” follows the detectives working the case. The case was first investigated by Detective Rodie Sanchez and he never gave up hope that he would find the killer. Along with the assistance of Detective Aubrey St. Angelo and aided by advances in forensic technology, he hopes to solve the case and keep his promise to Eugenie’s mother that he would find the person responsible for her murder. Derrick Todd Lee is immediately looked at, but DNA evidence does not link him directly to the murder. The team continues to look at suspects and seem to be making some progress.
Have you been watching the “Killing Fields” real-time investigation? Do you think Lee’s death will affect the case in any way? Leave your comments, thoughts and opinions below. Killing Fields airs on Thursday’s at 10 p.m. ET on Discovery.