San Diego Woman Murders Family
Aired June 6, 2012 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nine-year-old twins Jordan and Taylor Dejerinette.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were being watched by a trusted family baby- sitter, but suddenly, they all vanish.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want them back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Authorities just find their bodies on a rural dirt road, a manhunt under way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And I am Rita Cosby in for Nancy Grace.
A very big, tragic story that is taking place tonight. We just got some details in the case that is just breaking. And let`s go for the very latest.
Let`s go to Alexis Weed, Nancy Grace producer. Some big twists and turns. These two beautiful, little children, these 9-year-old twins, they suddenly go disappearing -- they go disappearing with their babysitter.
The first to look OK, maybe this guy had something to do with it. Now we find they all wind up dead. Tell us about it, Alexis.
ALEXIS WEE, NANCY GRACE, HLN HOST: GRACE PRODUCER: Right, Rita. Such a disturbing development tonight. These twins, these 9-year-old twins in Alabama, found today by investigators there, dead. Their bodies along with their babysitter. As you said, it was thought earlier perhaps, the babysitter took them somewhere. No, police say.
Tonight they`re looking for a 22-year-old male. His name is Deandra Lee. He has been named so far as a person of interest in this case, Rita. Right now the story is still developing.
COSBY: Now let`s go to Krista Littlefield, reporter, WAKA-TV.
Krista, first walk us through when these beautiful little children were last seen with the babysitter, what are some of the movements in the last, you know, 24 hours or so?
KRISTA LITTLEFIELD, REPORTER, WAKA-TV (via telephone): Well, they were last seen with that 73-year-old babysitter. He was a friend of the family. The mother dropped the twins off with him. She went to work Sunday afternoon. Monday morning, she couldn`t get in touch with him. She reported them missing. Tuesday night, last night, investigators finding three bodies off that rural dirt room in Lowndes County, Alabama.
Today, they finally released the information saying they were all killed. Of course they are not releasing exactly how they were killed or any motive in the case.
COSBY: And you know, Krista, we`re looking at pictures, looks like off this dirt road. A lot of blood at the scene. That looks like a pretty gruesome scene, sadly.
LITTLEFIELD: Very gruesome and, like you said, 22-year-old Deandra Lee, he actually has a background - he is a person of interest in the case. We have learned in 2008 he was found not guilty of a 2008 triple shooting in Selma, Alabama. Also we learned he lives on the exact same street as where the twins live with their mother in Montgomery, Alabama.
So, very shocking there that this is likely someone that the mother and this family knew.
COSBY: So, he lived on the same street. Again, everybody, this news is just breaking tonight as we find out sadly that it looks like there was a triple homicide, indeed, a person of interest in this case.
Krista, walk as though again. He lived near them? Do we know how long, if they knew each other?
LITTLEFIELD: We are not sure. The AVI, (INAUDIBLE) investigation is being very tightlipped about a lot of the details in the case thinking it would jeopardize the investigation. But his last known address was Montgomery, Alabama.
Just a couple of stores down from where I spoke to the mother this afternoon. She says the entire family is completely devastated over this triple murder, not only losing the 9-year-old precious twins but a very good friend, a 73-year-old Jack Girdner.
COSBY: It is such a tragic story.
Alexis Weed, what do we know as we`re looking at a picture of this wonderful friend of the family who was just taking care of the kids, trying to help out the family? What do we know about him?
WEED: Rita, this 73 year-year-old babysitter, he was known to have met this family in church. They went to the same church together, and he`s been watching these children for about three years. He babysits them. His mother had said to many of the local reporters there. That he took them on outings. That he just really took an interest in the children, really enjoyed being around them, taking care of them.
COSBY: Now he also had a nice car, right? Do we think that had anything to do with it? Do we know if the car has been found?
WEED: We don`t know if the car has been found at this point, Rita. However, earlier police were looking for the babysitter`s vehicle. It`s a 1988 Mercedes. They have not said anything more tonight yet, about the location of the vehicle or how maybe this -- the babysitter and the twins were intercepted and what happened here. We don`t know even why this 22- year-old has been named a person of interest at this point.
COSBY: Alexis, do we know anything more about the crime scene? Where there any indications or anything unusual at the crime scene?
WEED: We don`t, but, Rita, we did see some photographs coming out there. There were investigators on the scene all day. There were early reports, in fact, that there was a suspicious homicide in that area. It wasn`t until just before we went to air here that we knew that it was related to the 9-year-old twins and this babysitter.
COSBY: You know, it`s so heartbreaking when you see this and you see these two beautiful, beautiful kids, Jordan, Taylor, twins, 9-years-old. A nice guy in the neighborhood who was trying to help out. And now tragically we just learned just a few minutes here before air that, indeed, these three bodies have just been found.
Let`s go to CW Jensen, retired police captain. How do you piece this together?
CW JENSEN, RETIRED POLICE CAPTAIN: Well, I want to let everybody know -- because people ask me all the time, what`s the difference between a suspect and a person of interest? And I say, nothing. They`re the same. They have information that points this suspect, this person of interest to these murders. Obviously they know he was there on the street. They`ve got some evidence. They`re throwing it out that he`s a person of interest but, believe me, there`s no other person of interest in this case but this bad guy.
COSBY: Let`s go to Dr. Michael Arnall. How do you piece it together? You`re a forensic pathologist. What kind of forensics could put this together and how did they tie this guy pretty quickly to the scene?
DOCTOR MICHAEL ARNALL, M.D., BOARD CERTIFIED FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST (via telephone): it could be a couple of ways. They may have found shell casings or something of that nature at the scene where they found the bodies, that are similar to the shell casings in this gentleman`s previous case, or people are creatures of habit. They may well have this babysitter and the kids going into some type of business as a habit, and they may have gotten some video indicating that someone was following this babysitter and the two kids out of the business or got into a car in the parking lot. So, there may be some video we don`t know about that police are using to develop this person of interest.
COSBY: And, Pat Brown, criminal profiler, author of "only the truth," what leads would you follow now?
Now, we have a triple homicide, two beautiful kids, a wonderful neighborhood guy who was trying to help out a family. How would you sort of follow the leads and get this person of interest?
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER, AUTHOR, ONLY THE TRUTH: Well, Rita, I think the police are being tightlipped for a number of reasons. There`s one bad guy. And the question is, yes, was this a carjacking? He saw them some place and try to steal the car and end up seeing everybody?
COSBY: By the way, Pat, you`re great at this stuff. What do you think? That was my sort of first reaction, it`s a Mercedes, that`s one, an elderly guy, too.
BROWN: But here is the problem, I think, the police are also looking at and they have to clear with the mother. They have to clear her. When she gave her interview, she said some things that were a little concerning. She said that the babysitter was a nice man. That`s before he was found out to be dead. Why didn`t she say he is a nice man. The first word out of her mouth was she wants to know what happened to her children, not that she wanted them back. Like she knew something had happened to them.
It was very peculiar. Her demeanor was odd. But as we all said, sometimes you said, people are shock. They have weird ways of behaving. But they have to clear her and find out if she has any connections to this man they are looking at as a suspect. So, they have to look at all the possibilities to figure this out.
COSBY: You know that -- some interesting points, Pat that you bring up. CW Jensen, retired police captain, I thought Pat just said some interesting phrasing. No indication that she is a suspect whatsoever but the verbiage is kind of interesting, but sometimes that just happens in the heat of the moment, don`t you think?
JENSEN: When I`ve interviewed people, they do, they say goofy things. They`re upset. But I mean, I think what she is saying is absolutely right. You can`t look at a case singularly. You`ve got to bifurcate it or look at different things.
So, was the mother involved? Was the mother`s sister involved? Was the suspect, you know, involved with the mother -- I mean, these things can just get so confusing. The bottom line is, right now, the police are comfortable enough to say that they have a suspect, a person of interest in this case, and if you know where this cat is, call the cops.
COSBY: And, you know, Pat Brown, they zoomed in on this guy pretty quickly, so there`s got to be some pieces there at the scene tying this guy. What do you think is connecting him so quickly?
BROWN: I`m not sure. Maybe they have some information through somebody else, considering where he lives, so near to the family. Obviously he`s a really bad guy, too. They know he`s there and looking at his pattern. This guy is dangerous as heck. And, where is he now? Maybe he`s just nowhere to be found right now.
I can`t really believe - you know, the carjacking thing is kind a weird to me because, yes, it`s a nice car but it`s 20-years-old. Is that really what you need to be stealing? On the other hand, he seems to be a piece of crap, so, who knows what was going through his head it at the time.
COSBY: Yes. Who knows what`s worth it to somebody. It sounds like a horrible individual.
Real quickly, Alexis Weed, he has a rap sheet a mile long it looks like.
WEED: It is a mile long, Rita. And it`s hard to know where to start. But this Lee, he was recently released from jail after standing trial and being acquitted of murder of two individuals and also involved in injury to another individual in a shooting in a 2008 shooting incident.
Also, he was charged with -- in 2012, January, charged with resisting arrest. Altercation of a firearm, obstruction of justice. Carrying a pistol without a license, Rita.
Also, February of this year, third-degree robbery charge. He was released, Rita, just in February on a $10,000 bond.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This young lady dropped her kids off with an acquaintance.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She said he was a church member who showed interest in her kids. He had been spending time with them and babysitting.
TERRYE MOORER, MURDERED TWINS` MOTHER: I went to go pick them up and no one was home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Breaking developments -- the bodies of the babysitter, Jack, and 9-year-old twins, Jordan and Taylor, just discovered. Left on an Alabama dirt road.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t know what happened.
A terrible story and some details just coming in right here at airtime. Those two beautiful little faces that you see there of 9-year-old twins, a boy and a girl, and a wonderful babysitter, someone in the neighborhood just helping out. There he is. Just a kind, elderly man in the neighborhood who was babysitting the kids, trying to help the mom.
Well, the mom drops off the twins, and then she goes back to get them a few hours later. No one is home in the house. And now we get some details as of just a few minutes ago all three have been killed. And there is a person of interest.
Let`s go to Krista Littlefield. She is a reporter with WAKA-TV.
First of all, seems very quick that they found this guy. Tell us about the details in terms of getting the name. They haven`t located him. And in fact, before I go to you, Krista, I want to put up, because our viewers are amazing all over the country. And I want to put up the tip line.
Because if you have seen this man -- again, right now, he is just a person of interest, but clearly some details linking him to this case where authorities want to question him. The number is 1-800-392-8011. 1800-392- 8011. If you have seen this man, know any information, please do call authorities right away.
And, Krista, they narrowed in on this guy very fast, right?
LITTLEFIELD: Very quickly, within less than 24 hours. The bureau of investigation is considering him armed and very dangerous. He has a very long rap sheet. He`s out on bond and Dallas County, Alabama, for possession of firearm, resisting arrest and other charges.
And I`ve just been told by a family friend of the mother of the twins that she was in a relationship with Deandra Lee, being called a person of interest. Has not confirmed that, with the mother of the twins. This is coming from a family of the friend saying that she just broke that relationship off with him a couple of days ago. But it`s unclear exactly the details surrounding the motive of this murder and the details of how they were killed.
COSBY: That`s an interesting twist. Pat Brown, you`re hearing this as we are as we`re going to air. That`s an interesting connection that she knew this guy and was in a relationship with him.
BROWN: Well, there you go. I mean, it just seemed too odd to me he would pop out of nowhere would have any reason to do anything to children.
COSBY: Although, if you look at his rap sheet, that has a long rap sheet, you know, regardless.
BROWN: Right. But, he would be, you know, rise -- you still have to have a reason to commit a crime, and I didn`t think this particular gentleman was his target. So, that really bothered me.
Now the question is, was he angry with her and taking revenge on her, or is there something more to the story we don`t know? But clearly, if he`s involved, she knew at the time she was giving her statement that he probably had the kids.
COSBY: I`m Rita Cosby in for Nancy Grace.
Breaking news tonight as we`re getting details about the two beautiful faces that you are seeing here on the screen. Jordan and Taylor, 9-year- old twins and also there is 73-year-old babysitter.
Now, sadly, in just the last few minutes, we`re finding out all three bodies have been found and there is a person of interest. And this guy, Deandra Lee, is a person of interest authorities believe may be connected somehow to this case. He has a long rap sheet. In fact, he was acquitted of a murder that took place, a double murder back in 2008.
And joining us now on the phone is someone connected with that case. Wayne Moore, his son was murdered in 2008 and again, it was Deandra Lee, who authorities are looking for, was connected to this case. He got acquitted in this.
But Mr. Moore, tonight, as you look at the face of this guy, and now has some tie to what looks like a triple homicide with two beautiful kids and a man who was just trying to help them out, do you feel like he got away with murder the first time?
WAYNE MOORE, ACCUSED DEANDRA LEE OF KILLING HIS SON (via telephone): Yes, ma`am.
COSBY: What`s your reaction tonight? It must be heartbreaking for you, sir?
MOORE: Yes it is. So here, to see them beautiful kids to get their life took, they didn`t enjoy their life, you know. It`s a sad thing. You know, of course, number one, he should had never been put back out on the streets, you know. Because, you know, we had two witnesses, one died. And testified that he -- that he shot them, and then the other one that lived, he pointed him out on the stand, but they still put this murder person back out on the streets, you know.
COSBY: Yes. It must just be so upsetting you, to see these beautiful faces. And now, here is this guy with a rap sheet a mile long. What are your thoughts tonight? How dangerous is this man? You - you are familiar with him.
MOORE: Yes, ma`am, I am.
COSBY: What type of person is he?
MOORE: You know, I just knew him, never been around him, to me, he just -- he don`t have a heart. You can`t have a heart if you take children`s lives from them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOORER: I want to know what happened.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Twins 9-year-old Taylor and Jordan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never heard from him again. They left the care in the twins of 73-year-old Jack Gardner.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Authorities find their bodies on a rural dirt road. All three murdered.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And we`re taking your calls, everybody.
Let`s go to Tammy from California. Tammy, what`s your question tonight?
TAMMY, CALLER, CALIFORNIA: My question is, with the mother, something doesn`t feel right with her.
COSBY: I agree with you.
TAMMY: It seems like she was crying or in any kind of distress. And how are you with this man all the time and not do a background check? Could he have been a pedophile? Who knows?
COSBY: You know what? I think you bring up some great questions, Tammy. There is something really awful. They were together. She - and the verbiage to that Pat Brown was using earlier I thought what`s right on what happened, was, using past tense.
Let`s go to Ramani Durvasula, clinical psychologist. Do you think something else is going on here? And by the way if this guy did do it, what kind of person kills two beautiful kids like that?
RAMANI DURVASULA, PH.D., CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: There is a lot of red flags here. I mean, the involvement he had with her, and even the mom`s language during questioning. I mean, something -- something doesn`t quite feel right.
Three reasons people usually kill, love, money, or revenge. And maybe all three are operating here. But, you know, what kind of person kills someone like this? People who have no conscience, no remorse, who don`t think about the ramifications of their actions, because they can`t think about anything but themselves, what they want and what they feel. So, that`s who does this, and that`s likely what happened.
COSBY: It is disgusting.
Joey Jackson, defense attorney, if this guy is tied to it indeed, if he is apprehended, do you think he is going to use, I wasn`t there, the mom did it or something other defense? He got off before.
JOEY JACKSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Sure. There will be a lot of defense to use. And he point is though, you want accountability here. You want to ensure the right person is there. I don`t want police to get tunnel vision. I think we have a very sophisticated police department.
COSBY: Although, they right away zoomed in on this guy. Don`t you think there is something that they are probably going back to the mom now, if indeed they are tied. Don`t you think?
JACKSON: They`ll go back to the mom, and they are going to look at everyone else, Rita. Who knows? If there are fingerprints there, if there are footprints, if there is DNA. What they have obviously, they have something. We just hope that they get the right person ultimately and they held accountable.
COSBY: Alan Ripka, defense attorney, if you representing this guy, he has a rap sheet a mile long. You think the jury is going to go, what a great guy. He kills a beautiful babysitter and two kids? Shameful.
ALAN RIPKA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: They won`t say that, but what he is going to try to do is say maybe there are life insurance policies on these kids and he is going to try to inculpate the mother in some sort of conspiracy here and, you know, and throw blame at her.
COSBY: Yes. It is I think just disgusting and I think it is shameful. Alan, it is going to be - it looks like they got a lot on him clearly, everybody, tonight.