The Baton Rouge community struggled to understand how Derrick Todd Lee had not been considered a suspect for the killings earlier. After all, his criminal record was both extensive and relevant.
Lee had been charged with multiple counts of burglary and assault in the 1990s. In 1995, he added to his rap sheet, spending the night being chased by police for peeping into a woman's window.
The on-foot chase did not deter his intentions. Four years later, he was arrested for watching a different woman from her window, stalking her, and breaking into her home. A few months after this, he received yet another stalking charge.
At this time, he had already killed several women. Authorities had no idea.
In 2000, he faced charges for attempted first-degree murder. He severely beat his girlfriend in a bar because she dared to confront him about his flirtations with another woman. When the police showed up, they claimed that he attempted to run a deputy over while fleeing in his car.
He was meant to serve two years in prison but was released for good behavior.
In September of 2001, he was arrested for battery against his wife, but the charges were dismissed a few months later.
Understandably, the citizens of Baton Rouge were beside themselves when police released Lee's criminal record, citing that he was responsible for the rape and murder of several young women. He had clearly developed a fetish for watching and abusing women at a young age, and he never quite outgrew his stalking habits.
How could they have neglected to assess Lee as a suspect with such a pertinent criminal history?
With pressure from the public increasing by the minute, the police knew they had to find Derrick Todd Lee fast.