Lee seeks to bar death penalty and to delay the start of trial

Published 3:09 pm Monday, February 15, 2016

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By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal
Attorneys for Lowndes County triple-murder suspect Deandre Marquis Lee have filed motions in Lowndes County Circuit Court seeking to further continue the trial for more time to adequately prepare for the case and Lee has moved to bar the death penalty from being applied because it is “unconstitutional.”
The case is currently set to go to trial on April 11 of this year, but a hearing is set for Feb. 29 to determine if the motion to continue is granted.
Through his attorneys, Lee moves delay his trial because, “The recent decision by the United States Supreme Court in Hurst v. Florida raises serious constitutional questions about the viability of the death scheme utilized by the state of Alabama. Those constitutional issues need to be resolved before Mr. Lee is put on trial.”
According to the motion to continue, Lee and his attorneys need an additional expert/professional witness to be property prepared, the defendant and his attorneys need additional time to adequately prepare for the trial and a mitigation expert cannot be ready for trial by the current trial setting.
According to the motion to bar the death penalty, Alabama’s statute requires the judge, not the jury, to make the “ultimate factual findings necessary to impose a death penalty.”
And according to the motion to bar the death penalty, “The United States Supreme Court struck down Florida’s death penalty scheme because it gave the trial court the final authority to make ‘the critical findings necessary to impose the death penalty.'”
The motion to bar the death penalty concludes,”For these reasons, Deandra Lee respectfully requests that this court bar imposition of the death penalty in Mr. Lee’s case and declare that life without the possibility of parole is the maximum sentence available. Alabama’s death penalty scheme is clearly as unconstitutional as Florida’s under the Hurst ruling.”
Lee faces six capital murder charges in connection with the 2012 deaths of 9-year-old twins, Jordan and Taylor Dejerinett from Montgomery and their 73-year-old caretake, Jack Mac Girdner of Hope Hull.
On June 2, 2012 the bodies were discovered by the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office and the Alabama Bureau of Investigation on a dirt road off Alabama Highway 21 near Hayneville, three miles south of U.S. Highway 80.
The three had been reported missing on Monday, June 4, 2012.
Defendant Lee was 22 at the time of the crime.
Lee is represented by attorneys Jerry L Thornton and Logan R. Taylor, both of Hayneville.

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