Website obtains, sells convicted killer's art
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - South Louisiana serial killer, Derrick Todd Lee's artwork has somehow slipped from behind his cell at death row. It is now on sale to the public and the mother of a victim he is suspected of murdering is outraged.
Lee's drawings are listed for sale on a website that advertises and sells inmate artwork. Angola Prison Warden Burl Cane says he was surprised to hear Lee's work was posted there.
Derrick Todd Lee, a.k.a. the Baton Rouge Serial Killer, was born November 5, 1968 in St. Francisville, LA. He was linked by DNA to the deaths of seven women in the Baton Rouge and Lafayette areas. Lynn Marino, whose daughter Pam Kinamore was one of the seven murdered, says the website creators have gone too far.
"Look at this, original water colors, done by serial killer Derrick Todd Lee," said Marino.
Marino and her friend Audrey Sanchez are in utter shock over the inmate artwork displayed on the Florida basted website serialkillersink.net. One of Lee's pieces has grabbed Marino's attention, a painting of a panda bear eating bamboo, signed Derrick Lee. "I tell ya, the Panda looks like him. Look at those eyes, Really?" said Morino.
Lee was convicted in 2004 for the murders of Geralyn DeSoto and Charlotte Murray Pace. When tried for DeSoto's murder in August of 2004, because she had not been sexually assaulted, he was only charged with second degree murder. He we convicted by a jury and sentenced to life in prison without parole. Then in October, he was convicted for the rape and murder of LSU graduate student Charlotte Murray Pace. Lee was sentenced to die by lethal injection.
The panda picture is listed for sale at $25. There is also a second drawing on the site by Lee which depicts two swans. According to the site, it is out of stock. "He's using our tax money to draw these drawings, which infuriates me," said Sanchez.
"How did he manage to get this done in a secure cell, 24 hours a day?" said Morino.
Angola Prison Warden Burl Cain says the people who run the website tricked Lee into sending them his artwork. "They conned him out of it because they sent a picture of a pretty little girl who said she wanted to be his pen pal. She sent $20. He sent artwork, never realized it would be on the internet," said Cain.
Serialkillersink.net cofounder, Erin Gein, says that is not true. He claims Lee sent his partner, Jessika Miller of Florida, a letter soliciting them to see his artwork.
"They just ought to stop it. Why does anybody need any bit of memorabilia from a killer. It's insane!" said Sanchez.
The people behind the website claim it is just business. To Marino, it is heartless. "Unless something affects you, you think you understand and can be compassionate. But unless you walk in that person's shoes, you have no idea," said Marino.
Cain says the prison has now put some extra measures in place to keep inmate art from being sold. For example: Cain says all money wired into the inmates' expense accounts will be traced.
By the way, there was a bill introduced to Congress last year that would prohibit the sale of inmate art, but it didn't pass. Marino says she is going to put pressure on our state lawmakers to do something like that here.
Most of the murders connected to Lee were committed in the area around LSU, and two of the victim's bodies were discovered at the Whiskey Bay boat launch, about 30 miles west of Baton Rouge, just off I-10.
During the manhunt for Lee, John Walsh, host of America's Most Wanted, named the Baton Rouge Serial Killer to his Top 10 Fugitives of 2002 at #3.
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