Defense seeks continuation of triple murder case

Published 4:54 pm Monday, March 3, 2014

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal

Triple murder suspect Deandra Marquis Lee appeared in Lowndes County Circuit Court Monday morning with his defense attorneys who are seeking a continuation of the case set for trial April 7.

Lee faces six capital murder charges in connection with the June 3, 2012 murders of 9-year-old twins, Jordan and Taylor Dejerinett, from Montgomery, and their 73-year-old caretaker, Jack Mac Girdner of Hope Hull, in Lowndes County.

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Lee appeared before Circuit Court Judge Terri Bozeman Lovell with defense attorneys Jerry Thornton and Logan Taylor of Hayneville.

Thornton told Lovell that he said the defense could not be ready when the case was originally set for trial.

Lowndes County District Attorney Charlotte M. Tesmer said Lee’s counsel asked for a continuance in the case. “Their mitigation expert is not ready. Their investigators still have some things to cover. And the judge has indicated that she will most likely grant that motion,” she said.

According to Tesmer, Lovell said she would rule on the motion this week. She said if the motion is granted, “That means it (the case) won’t come to trial until October of this year.”

However, she said, “The state is ready.”

The children had last been seen with Girdner June 3, 2012, according to information from the Department of Public Safety.

When the children were reported missing on the following day, authorities said they were in the custody of Girdner, who had known the family for “about three years.” They had been reportedly last seen in Montgomery.

According to the ABI (Alabama Bureau of Investigation), the bodies were discovered by the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office and the ABI on a dirt road off of Alabama Highway 21 near Hayneville, three miles south of U.S. Highway 80.

A day later, the ABI confirmed they had recovered the missing 1998 white Mercedes, owned by Girdner. The car, which was missing all four of its doors, was discovered in the Minter community in south Dallas County.

Lee was captured June 9, 2012, in a small apartment in Selma, reportedly huddled in the room with a woman.

Lee, who was 22 at the time of the crime, is presumed innocent until proven guilty. He pleaded not guilty last September and is currently being held in the Autauga County Jail with no bond.