Lee convicted in Montgomery County for destruction of state property
Published 12:58 pm Monday, April 4, 2016
By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal
While awaiting a pending trial on six counts of capital murder in Lowndes County, triple-murder suspect Deandra Marquis Lee has been convicted and sentenced in Montgomery County on a charge of destruction of state property.
Lowndes Circuit Court Judge Terri Bozeman Lovell recently granted a continuance in Lee’s triple-murder case dating back to 2012, which according to Lowndes County District Attorney Charlotte Tesmer, has not been set for trial.
The case had been set to go to trial on April 11 of this year. However, Lovell granted the delay sought on Lee’s behalf to give his attorneys more time to prepare for the case and due to concerns over Alabama’s death penalty.
Montgomery County Circuit Court Clerk Tiffany McCord confirmed on Monday that on Feb. 22nd of this year, a Montgomery County jury found Lee guilty of destroying state property. She said it “appeared” that Lee (allegedly) “broke a sprinkler head” at the Montgomery Detention Facility.
She said Lee was sentenced to five years in prison, ordered to pay $300 in restitution and to pay the crime victims’ fund $50.
McCord said Montgomery County incident for which Lee was sentenced in Montgomery County Circuit Court, occurred on Sept. 5, 2015. She said he was found guilty on Feb. 22 of this year and sentenced on Monday, March 28 of this year.
Through his attorneys, Jerry Thornton and Logan Taylor, both of Hayneville, Lee moved to delay his trial in Lowndes County 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.”
Also according to the motion to continue, Lee and his attorneys need an additional expert/professional witness to be properly 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.’”
In granting the motion to delay, Lovell said she expected the issue to be resolved and not to grant any further continuances.
“Of course, we’re frustrated and disappointed,” said Lowndes County District Attorney Charlotte M. Tesmer. “But there are some legal issues out there now because of the Hurst decision in Florida that most likely will impact Alabama cases.”
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.