Judge denies Derrick Todd Lee's request for original DNA swabs

Derrick Todd Lee
Derrick Todd Lee

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - South Louisiana serial killer Derrick Todd Lee was back in a Baton Rouge courtroom for a hearing Thursday.

His lawyers asked for the original DNA swabs taken from Lee to be turned over to them.

They requested the shirt and bra from victim Charlotte Murray Pace. Lee was convicted eight years ago of murdering the 22-year-old. His attorneys also wanted a telephone cord.

Judge Richard D. Anderson denied the requests from defense attorneys.

Ann Pace, the mother of Murray Pace, said hearing the request about her daughter's clothing was difficult.

"These have been long years made traumatic by this process," Pace said. "This post-conviction process is a gift to the serial killer. It completely dismisses the importance of these young women's lives. It completely traumatizes all of us repeatedly."

She went on to say she can't believe the state of Louisiana allows this to continue.

Prosecutor Dana Cummings said defendants in capital cases have lots of rights. However, she didn't quite understand the reason for the requests from Lee's attorneys, but agreed with the judge's decision.

"They didn't really explain it, other than they talked about the phone cord," Cummings said. "I think that anything they want to do can be accomplished and I think that the judge's ruling was really good."

She added defense attorneys are given lots of leeway by the system, even if they make requests that make no sense or is intended for delay.

"If people are innocent, they should be freed, but the flip side of that is when you have a case like this, that you have insurmountable DNA in all of these cases, it is ridiculous that this murder case is now…we tried it in 2004, so we're eight years past the date and we're still struggling to get it where it needs to be," Cummings explained.

Marie Scavetta, Lee's appeal attorney, did not comment on the denial of the motion.

Lee has been through most of his appeals process and the case has been upheld the entire way.

The defense was given until Feb. 7, 2013 to examine the evidence that will remain with the court.

Lee is currently going through the process of appealing his death penalty sentence.

He is trying to get it changed to life in prison.

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