Twins’ relatives rush Lee at hearing

Published 11:04 am Wednesday, July 4, 2012

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal

The preliminary hearing of triple-murder suspect Deandra Marquis Lee, 22, of Montgomery, was disrupted at Lowndes County District Court Monday when three uncles of slain 9-year-old twins Jordan and Taylor Dejerinett charged at Lee as he was brought into the courtroom.

Lee is accused of killing three people in Lowndes County including the 9-year-old twins and their 73-year-old caretaker Jack Mac Girdner.

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District Court Judge Adrian D. Johnson bound Lee over to the grand jury, finding probable cause after hearing testimony from Alabama Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Matt Bowman.

Lee is being held in the Lowndes County Jail on a $3 million cash bond, $1 million for each murder charge.

A $10,000 bond in Lowndes County on a third degree robbery charge against Lee when he was captured in Selma after a four-day manhunt was revoked by Johnson at an earlier court appearance.

The three uncles were brought back into the courtroom after Monday’s hearing and were sentenced by Johnson to serve 24-hours in the Lowndes County Jail.

Bowman testified he was the first officer to the crime scene where the bodies were found off a dirt road off Alabama Highway 21 in Lowndes County.

“They were murdered here in Lowndes County,” Bowman said.

Bowman said all three victims were shot by a “small caliber” handgun, which has not been found.

He said Lee’s father lived in Minter, where Girdner’s 1988 Mercedes was found with the doors missing. He said witnesses said Lee was driving the vehicle that belonged to Girdner. He also said witnesses said Lee stated, “I did what I had to do.”

Bowman said a pink lunch bag belonging to the girl and a Ripstik, a two-wheel type skateboard, belonging to the boy were also witnessed, which the mother said belonged to the children.

The “only thing we could figure would be robbery,” Bowman said when asked about a possible motive.

“He (Lee) was bound over for all three murder charges. He will go to the grand jury for Lowndes County,” Lowndes County District Attorney Charlotte Tesmer said.

“The child victims’ family have some young men, actually it is my understanding that they were uncles, and they were overcome with emotion and charged the defendant,” she said. She said one made brief contact with Lee.

Tesmer said the next step is “to get ready for grand jury, get the ABI file and go forward.”

Tesmer said this case might not be ready to go before the next grand jury later this month, but she said a special grand jury could be held.