After talking to the family of Dene Colomb, prosecutors in Lafayette say they will drop their murder case against twice convicted serial killer Derrick Todd Lee. Lee is accused of beating 23-year-old Colomb to death. Her body was found just outside Lafayette. DNA links Lee to the crime.
Sporting t-shirts with Dene's photograph on them and a pendant with her etching, the Colomb's say they've had enough of Derrick Todd Lee and won't to get on with their lives.
"It's a point where I think we can finally put her to rest and we can move on with our life instead of worrying about going to trial again," says Sterling Colomb, Jr., Dene's brother.
Dene's father, Sterling Colomb, Sr., says seeing Lee sentenced to death in an earlier victim's trial was enough.
Lafayette Parish First Assistant District Attorney Bill Babin agrees with the family and announced that his office will drop the murder indictment against Lee. However, he reserved the right to prosecute Lee in the event of a problem with his death penalty case in East Baton Rouge.
Babin says the welfare of the Colomb family outweighs the need for a second death verdict. "The Colomb family are decent innocent people who have been through hell the past couple of years because of Derrick Todd Lee," says Babin.
Without the Lafayette trial the only outstanding cases of record are in East Baton Rouge, where Derrick Lee was sentenced to death for the murder of Charlotte Murray Pace. Prosecutor John Sinquefield says the final decision has not been made on whether to move forward with the other cases in East Baton Rouge.
"We would probably sit pat on the conviction that we have and see if we can execute Derrick Todd Lee. No final decision has been made that probably will be made after talking to each of the families individually," says Sinquefield.
Sinquefield says that decision could come as early as next week. Other factors to consider are the mental retardation issue. While the East Baton Rouge jury found Lee not to be retarded, another jury could say he is, thus, clouding the prosecution's case.
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