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Lowndes triple murder suspect Lee found guilty

By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal

At about 2:11 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, a Lowndes County jury found triple murder suspect Deandra Marquis Lee guilty on six counts of capital murder for the deaths of of 9-year-old twins Jordan and Taylor Dejerinett from Montgomery and their 73-year-old caretaker Jack Mac Girdner of Hope Hull.

The convictions came following closing arguments Thursday morning at the Charles Smith Sr. Courthouse Annex in Hayneville.

Lee was found guilty of capital murder during robbery (Taylor Dejerinett); capital murder during robbery (Jack Girdner); capital murder during robbery (Jordan Dejerinett); capital murder of two or more persons pursuant to one scheme (all victims); capital murder of victim under 14 (Taylor Dejerinett); and capital murder of victim under 14 (Jordan Dejerinett).

The trial was presided over by Lowndes County 2nd Judicial Circuit Judge Terri Bozeman Lovell.

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

The first closing argument for the state was made by attorney Levi Nichols, while Lowndes County Chief Assistant District Attorney Steve Townes made the second and final closing argument for the state.

The closing argument in Lee’s defense was made by Thornton.

Lee appeared in the courtroom on Thursday wearing a light blue shirt.

In his closing argument Nichols said, “June 3, 2012 was a significant day for the family” of the victims. He painted the picture of a robbery for a 1988 White Mercedes-Benz in which the victims were shot to death by Lee.

He described “Taylor (Dejerinett) running, trying to get away from this man (Lee) through the mud” and being shot three times.

Nichols said, “She was scared of this man.”

Nichols said six different witnesses saw Lee in Minter driving a White Mercedes up and down the road.

He also said one witness saw a bag belonging to Taylor and a skate board belonging to Jordan in the back seat of the car.

And he described the murder as told by a man in jail and said, “The only way he would have known that defendant right there told him.”

Nichols said defendant Lee said he was only in the passenger side of the car but 17 fingerprints from Lee were found including two on documents that were contained in a bag found in the closed trunk of the car.

Nichols told the jury, “You’ve got to look at the whole picture… how it all fits together… how it makes sense.”

And while Nichols talked about the burden of the state to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, he said that was “not beyond all doubt.”

In his closing argument in Lee’s defense, Thornton also talked about reasonable doubt and questioned the credibility of some of the state’s witnesses.

He pointed out that certain witnesses made contradictory statements.

And he told the jury, “You should be skeptical of the state’s case.”

In his closing for the state, Townes told the jury, “If you have an abiding belief the defendant killed” the victims “you are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt.”

He said that while the victims may have been silenced, “They still cry out.”

Lovell gave the jury their final instructions before the jury was allowed to deliberate and returned to deliver its verdict.

The penalty trial for Lee will begin on Monday, Oct. 29 at 9 a.m.