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Lee triple murder trial begins in Lowndes

By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal

After six years, the trial of Lowndes County triple murder suspect Deandra Marquis Lee began at the Charles Smith Courthouse Annex in Hayneville today (Thursday, Oct. 18).

On June 5, 2012, the bodies of 9-year-old twins Jordan and Taylor Dejerinett from Montgomery and their 73-year-old caretaker Jack Mac Girdner of Hope Hull 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.

Suspect Lee faces a total of six capital murder charges, three capital murder charges for the murder of the victims during a robbery, two capital murder charges for the killing of a child less than 14 and one capital murder charge for the killing of two or more people.

In afternoon testimony today, under questioning from Lowndes County Chief Assistant District Attorney Steve Townes, two state witnesses testified about photos of the crime scene.

In addition, one of the state witnesses testified about photos of Girdner’s vehicle and evidence recovered from both the crime scene and the vehicle.

When graphic photos from the crime scene were put into evidence, family members were allowed to leave the courtroom.

However, court concluded today with the showing of a 17-minute video to the jury of the crime scene, which included graphic images of the bodies of the victims.

Many in attendance at the trial were visibly moved by the video.

Lowndes County 2nd Judicial Circuit Judge Terri Bozeman Lovell recessed  court until 8:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 19.

The jury selection process for the Lee trial actually began on Tuesday, Oct. 9th,  but ended this morning in the Lowndes County Commission room of courthouse annex before the trial began.

Lowndes County Commission Chairman Carnell McAlpine said on Wednesday, Oct. 17, that about 10 days ago county maintenance personnel discovered bats in the attic of the Lowndes County Courthouse.

He said a company identified as Alabama Wildlife Pro of Alabaster began working to get rid of the bats, but some got down into the courtroom and there was an odor.

McAlpine said it was hoped that the bats would be out in time for the trial, but the company was expected to return today to continue its efforts to rid the courtroom of the bats.

With the trial, underway at the courthouse annex, the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department provided security.

Lee is represented by attorneys Jerry L. Thornton and Robert Troy Teague. And the case is being prosecuted by 2nd Judicial Circuit District Attorney Charlotte Tesmer.