Charges Against Lee Changed in West Baton Rouge - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Charges Against Lee Changed in West Baton Rouge

Major new developments today in the case against accused serial killer Derrick Todd Lee. On Friday morning, Lee pled not guilty in a West Baton Rouge court to the murder of Addis resident and LSU student Geralyn De Soto.

The surprise is the charges against Lee - he is no longer being accused of first degree murder. Prosecutors have downgraded the charges against Lee to second degree murder. Originally, Lee was indicted on first degree murder charges for Geralyn's death. But today, her family members and prosecutors said they're going after Lee for second degree murder only.

21-year-old Geralyn De Soto was brutally murdered in her mobile home on January 14, 2002. Her attacker slit her throat and beat her repeatedly. Although prosecutors originally wanted first degree murder to be the charge, they now say they have a stronger case with the second degree charges. Plus second degree murder is much simpler to prosecute - since Lee can not receive the death penalty.

Many of the issues that could hold up Derrick Todd Lee's first degree murder trial in East Baton Rouge now don't exist in West Baton Rouge. This trial is expected to go forward much faster and easier than the one in East Baton Rouge.  Prosecutors say the second degree murder charge eliminates many of the reasons lee's public defenders have to appeal and delay.

Prosecutor Tony Clayton said, "all that stuff about funding and letting him see a doctor to find out if he ever fell on his head as a kid- we've taken all that from him." Now he'll have to stand trial before the people. Second degree murder trials are done here everyday. This gets rid of a lot of the dilatory stuff in my opinion."

Not only is funding now a much smaller issue for West Baton Rouge, but Lee will not need a psychological profile for this trial. Prosectors also only need ten out of twelve jurors to say Lee's guilty of second degree murder. For a guilty verdict in a first degree murder trial, all twelve jurors must return a unanimous decision. Lee could get life without parole for a second degree conviction.

The courtroom saw a little extra drama when Lee apparently refused to submit to another DNA sample in West Baton Rouge. Prosecutors had to show presiding judge Robin Free a relatively new law saying any person charged with a felony must submit a DNA sample when booked into jail. After reading the law, Free ordered Lee to allow officers to swab him. Lee then peacefully went along with the test.

More motions will be heard in the West Baton Rouge court on March 4, and a trial date may possibly be set at that time.

  • More Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • Captain Nathan Keller retires from LCPD after 30 over years

    Captain Nathan Keller retires from LCPD after 30 over years

    Saturday, June 23 2018 7:31 PM EDT2018-06-23 23:31:14 GMT
    Captain Nathan Keller (Source: Lake Charles Police Department)Captain Nathan Keller (Source: Lake Charles Police Department)
    Captain Nathan Keller (Source: Lake Charles Police Department)Captain Nathan Keller (Source: Lake Charles Police Department)
    Lake Charles Police Chief Donald D. Dixon has announced the retirement of Operations Commander Captain Nathan Troy Keller. Keller has worked for LCPD since March 28, 1988. He began as a police officer, eventually becoming a patrol officer. He was transferred to the Investigation Division in 1991 and was later promoted to sergeant. He took on the role as patrol shift sergeant in 2002 where he supervised uniformed patrol officers. In 2006, he was assigned to the Community Policin...More >>
    Lake Charles Police Chief Donald D. Dixon has announced the retirement of Operations Commander Captain Nathan Troy Keller. Keller has worked for LCPD since March 28, 1988. He began as a police officer, eventually becoming a patrol officer. He was transferred to the Investigation Division in 1991 and was later promoted to sergeant. He took on the role as patrol shift sergeant in 2002 where he supervised uniformed patrol officers. In 2006, he was assigned to the Community Policin...More >>
  • One arrested after crash on I-10 near Welsh

    One arrested after crash on I-10 near Welsh

    Saturday, June 23 2018 5:45 PM EDT2018-06-23 21:45:41 GMT
    (Source: Kent P. Langley)(Source: Kent P. Langley)
    (Source: Kent P. Langley)(Source: Kent P. Langley)

    An arrest has been made after a two-vehicle crash on I-10 milepost 53.5 west of Welsh, according to Sgt. James Anderson with Louisiana State Police. Anderson says preliminary investigation revealed the driver of a Honda Accord lost control while heading west on I-10, crossing the median onto the eastbound side of the interstate. The driver of a Chevrolet Trax traveling east struck the driver's side of the Accord, causing the Accord to break in half. A passenger in the Accord had mod...

    More >>

    An arrest has been made after a two-vehicle crash on I-10 milepost 53.5 west of Welsh, according to Sgt. James Anderson with Louisiana State Police. Anderson says preliminary investigation revealed the driver of a Honda Accord lost control while heading west on I-10, crossing the median onto the eastbound side of the interstate. The driver of a Chevrolet Trax traveling east struck the driver's side of the Accord, causing the Accord to break in half. A passenger in the Accord had mod...

    More >>
  • FIRST ALERT FORECAST: Partly sunny and hot

    FIRST ALERT FORECAST: Partly sunny and hot

    Saturday, June 23 2018 4:17 PM EDT2018-06-23 20:17:05 GMT
    Triple digit feels-like temperatures for most of next week (Source: KPLC)Triple digit feels-like temperatures for most of next week (Source: KPLC)
    Triple digit feels-like temperatures for most of next week (Source: KPLC)Triple digit feels-like temperatures for most of next week (Source: KPLC)

    Through the rest of today expect skies to remain partly cloudy.  Unfortunately, this does not help our temperatures much as highs will get into the 90s and feels-like temperatures will be in the triple digits.  We do have a slight breeze along and south of the I-10 corridor between 5-10 mph helping to keep air flowing.  Tonight, temperatures will still be warm not dropping out of the mid 70s across southwest Louisiana.  

    More >>

    Through the rest of today expect skies to remain partly cloudy.  Unfortunately, this does not help our temperatures much as highs will get into the 90s and feels-like temperatures will be in the triple digits.  We do have a slight breeze along and south of the I-10 corridor between 5-10 mph helping to keep air flowing.  Tonight, temperatures will still be warm not dropping out of the mid 70s across southwest Louisiana.  

    More >>
Powered by Frankly