Published: Jan. 21, 2016; 5:57 p.m.
Derrick Todd Lee, the convicted serial killer linked to the deaths of seven south Louisiana women between 1998 and 2003, died on Thursday.
Lee — sentenced to death in a five-year killing spree that terrified an entire region during the hunt for the killer — died quietly Thursday at a hospital instead of inside Louisiana’s execution chamber.
While the news left some victim’s relatives feeling they have been denied justice by a glacial legal system, others said that while Lee’s death does little to ease their pain, they are relieved the case is over.
Below are comments from family members of Lee's victims:
“We never have to think about that sorry bastard again. My family can finally do the best we can to cope around this. The wound never closes,” said Amy Sanders, left, the sister of Gina Wilson Green, who was found strangled at her Stanford Avenue home in 2001. Also pictured are Lynda Yoder, mother of Carrie Lynn Yoder; Anne Pace, mother of Charlotte Murray Pace; and Lynne Marino, mother of Pam Kinamore.
“Now he goes to meet the Lord, and the Lord will pass the true sentence against him. His sentence here on earth is nothing compared to what he’ll suffer when he goes before God if he hasn’t made his peace,” said Melanie Barr, the mother of Geralyn DeSoto, who was killed in her Addis home in 2002.
“The appeals process has been very, very hard on us. It just seemed like it was going on and on and on. It’s over, and we couldn’t be happier,” said Lynda Yoder, the mother of Carrie Lynn Yoder, an LSU graduate student whose body was found in March 2003.
Since her daughter was murdered, Lynda Yoder said she had been through “ a lot of counseling, a lot of Xanax.”
She grieves that her daughter never met her brother’s children. “My family has just missed her terribly. They remember her on her birthday, on the day she died. It’s just an ongoing process, the waves and waves of grief.”
“So, here we are, 12 years post trial; the offender is dead, family members are dead. After all these years, the case will never be concluded. Any sense of justice is lost; any sense of logic is lost,” said Ann Pace, the mother of Charlotte Murray Pace, found stabbed and bludgeoned in her home in 2002.
Pace said it is lonesome without Murray’s father, who died last year, and Lynne Marino, who also passed away last year. Marino was the mother of Pam Kinamore, another of Lee’s murder victims. She had been a passionate advocate on behalf of the victims’ families.
“Murray’s death was life turning inside out. Nothing I believed or thought I knew to be true had substance any more. It was unimaginable,” Pace recalled.
Ed Piglia, the brother of Pam Kinamore, said members of his family were glad to hear Lee had died, but Piglia wasn’t.
“It was too merciful of a way for him to go. He should have been executed. He didn’t pay his debt to society.”
Piglia said he had hoped that one day Lee would finally show some remorse and confess to all the murders he was convicted or suspected of committing.
“But I don’t know if he was capable of it. He was arrogant.”
Piglia said at least the state’s taxpayers no longer have to support Lee any longer.
“We always felt there was that 1 percent chance that he might say where he put her. This morning that died. To have no hope at all is incomprehensible, really,” said Michael Mebruer, the ex-husband of Randi Mebruer, abducted from her Zachary home in 1998. Police believe Derrick Todd Lee killed her, based on DNA evidence found at her home, but her body was never found.