Derrick Todd Lee (born in 1968 in St. Francisville, Louisiana, USA), dubbed the Baton Rouge Serial Killer, has been linked by DNA to the deaths of five women in the Baton Rouge and Lafayette areas in Louisiana. Newspapers have suggested a link with other unsolved murders in the area, but the police lack DNA evidence to prove these connections.
The murder method has varied with nearly each case. Similarities between the crimes include the removal of phones from the victim's belongings and the lack of forced entry. Most murders were committed in the area around Louisiana State University, with two of the bodies being found in Whiskey Bay.
Public hysteria had created many rumors and false suspect reports in the area. Previously, the suspect was believed to be a white man driving a white pickup truck. New evidence points to an[African-American man from the Breaux Bridge area driving a gold 1997 Mitsubishi Mirage who is also wanted in connection with an attempted rape. Lee was captured in Atlanta, Georgia, in May 2003.
Lee was tried in August 2004 for the murder of Geralyn DeSoto, who was found dead in her home in Addis, Louisiana. DeSoto had been stabbed numerous times. Desoto's husband was the primary suspect, but DNA evidence creating a possible link to Lee was discovered as the murder investigation progressed. Although eligible for first degree murder charges, the District Attorney elected to try Lee for murder in the second degree. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without the benefit of parole.
One of Lee's victims is believed to have been Mari Ann Fowler (born 1937), wife of former Louisiana Elections Commissioner Jerry M. Fowler. Mrs. Fowler was abducted on Christmas eve 2002 from a sandwich shop in Port Allen in West Baton Rouge Parish. She was never found and was declared legally dead in 2004.
Currently Lee resides on death row at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola.