Derrick Todd Lee, sentenced to death in 2004 for the first-degree murder of Charlotte Murray Pace, 22, in Baton Rouge, wants to take a dispute over DNA records straight to the Louisiana Supreme Court.
Lee, 42, also is serving a life sentence for the murder of Geralyn DeSoto, 21, of Addis.
And he is a suspect in the slayings of five other south Louisiana women between 1998 and 2003.
District Attorney Hillar C. Moore III said Wednesday he could not comment immediately on specifics in Lee’s latest appeal.
“We’ll fight it every step of the way,” Moore added. “And we’re confident that we will prevail.
“He was convicted fairly,” Moore said. “I’d say he’s just trying to avoid the death penalty. To me, death was the only appropriate sentence in this case.”
Gary P. Clements, a New Orleans attorney with the Capital Post-Conviction Project of Louisiana, wants the Supreme Court to review evidence in his dispute with the Louisiana State Police Crime Laboratory.
That dispute is over DNA records used in Lee’s trial for Pace’s savage murder. The LSU graduate was stabbed 83 times, bludgeoned and raped.
Clements asked 19th Judicial District Judge Richard D. Anderson on Monday to grant him 30 days to complete that filing with the Supreme Court.
Clements already was asking Anderson to hold an evidentiary hearing on a number of defense complaints about Lee’s conviction. And Anderson had given Moore’s office until Oct. 19 to respond.
In his latest filing, Clements asked Anderson to put the evidentiary hearing on hold while he attempts to take the DNA dispute to the Supreme Court.
Clements told Anderson: “The Louisiana State Police Crime (Laboratory) has refused to allow (defense experts) to examine slides of the biological evidence that formed the basis of (Lee’s) capital conviction and death sentence.”
Clements added that the State Police have not “and cannot offer any basis for their refusal to allow (Lee’s) expert to examine the microscopic slides.”
Some of the arguments in Clements larger request for an evidentiary hearing already have been rejected by the Supreme Court.
Now, however, Clements also argues that prosecutors withheld evidence of Lee’s alleged mental incompetence.
Moore repeated Wednesday that Lee was convicted fairly.
“This was a hard-fought case by lawyers on both sides,” Moore said. “He (Lee) deserved to be convicted. And that conviction was made by a jury with all the evidence.”
Prosecutors have alleged Lee also is responsible for the deaths of Trineisha Dene Colomb, of Lafayette; Randi Mebruer, of Zachary; Pam Kinamore, of Briarwood; and Baton Rouge residents Gina Wilson Green and Carrie Lynn Yoder.