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Interview With Pat Brown

Aired May 27, 2003 - 19:01   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Our top story, we begin with a search for a serial killer.
Investigators are converging on Atlanta right now where they believe the man suspected of killing at least five women in southern Louisiana is staying. Now as the manhunt intensifies, the list of Derrick Todd Lee's possible victims is growing.

Police say they are his trail. CNN's Ed Lavandera goes back to where that trail began.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In this wooded area outside St. Francisville, Louisiana, Derrick Todd Lee's family has hunkered down. "No trespassing" signs warn anyone asking question about the 34-year-old serial killer suspect to stay away.

Lee's mother is in poor health, but the local sheriff says she wants her son to hear this.

SHERIFF AUSTIN DANIEL, WEST FELICIANA, LA: Derrick Todd Lee, if you can hear me, I met with your mother this morning. For the safety -- for the sake of her health, she has asked me to ask you to please turn yourself in.

LAVANDERA: Three weeks ago an investigator questioned Lee about a possible connection to some older murder cases dating back to the 1990s.

The investigator got a court order for a DNA sample from Lee. When the results came back, authorities connected him to the serial killer victims.

But they had lost track of Lee. A week after that DNA test, Lee was apparently still in his hometown. He stopped by the home of a former co-worker named Eddie Berry. Berry told us Lee has always been friendly, but has a history of strange behavior.

EDDIE BERRY, NEIGHBOR: He was a peeping Tom. I do know that about him.

LAVANDERA: Indeed, investigators says Lee has an extensive criminal record, including convictions on peeping Tom charges and stalking charges. Since Lee left St. Francisville, he was most recently seen in Atlanta Georgia. FBI authorities say Lee spent about a week at the Lakewood Motor Lodge in South Atlanta, but Derrick Lee left that hotel a few days ago and remains at large.


LAVANDERA: Actually, we've learned that Lee last checked out of that hotel in south Atlanta on Monday and that we're also told that authorities arrived at that scene about an hour or two after he had already left.

Now we still haven't got any kind of information today as to what Lee might be wearing or how he's moving around, what he might be driving, any kind of information that would go a long way in helping the public try to locate Lee. So until then, the only thing really out there, Anderson, is the picture of Lee is and the hope that someone will call him and phone in the information in time to authorities -- Anderson.

COOPER: Ed, thanks very much.

Before we talk more about this suspect, we want to go and focus the victims of these crimes. Word that police may be closing in on a suspect comes as bittersweet news for the families of those victims. We want to talk with some of the relatives. We are following these developments very closely.

Ann Pace's daughter, Charlotte, was the second of five women linked to the serial killer. She gad recently received an MBA from Louisiana State University -- that's her picture there -- when she was found stabbed to death at her home near the LSU campus.

Mrs. Pace joins us from Jackson, Mississippi. Welcome. Good evening. Thanks for being with us.

And about six weeks later the body of Pam Kinamore was found under a bridge about 30 miles from Baton Rouge. There she is. Pam Kinamore was an antiques dealer. She was just 44 years old.

Lynn Marino is her mother. She's been very active in pushing the police in the investigation, and she joins us, as well, from New Orleans.

Good evening to both of you. Thanks for being with us.

Ann, I want to start off with you. It's been a year since your daughter Charlotte was killed. How has this year been knowing that the killer is out there?

ANN PACE, VICTIM'S MOTHER: The year has been the most excruciatingly awful year I have ever had and ever hope to have in my life. It is hideous knowing he's out there, and there's been an awful cycle of waiting between victims, knowing that the next one is going to come. And as I thought about it recently I discovered that Derrick Lee had three felony convictions by the time -- by 2000 and my burning question at this moment is, what happened to the judicial system and why was he ever there to murder any of these women? Why was he not in prison?

COOPER: Lynn, you have been very vocal and very active, really, throughout this nightmare. As you look at the investigation as it's transpired, do you think it's been too slow?

LYNN MARINO, VICTIM'S MOTHER: Oh, absolutely it's been too slow. I've said from the beginning, they don't know how to connect the dots and the sad part is they didn't want any help. They were offered expert help pro bono and they weren't interested.

They even, today in the press conference they had the attorney general said three different times, we never go into a case unless we're invited. Well, that's how these other three victims' names came out from Zachary and Brobridge, they were invited to come and look at these past murders, Connie Warner dating from 1992. The task force has never invited anybody to come in and give any kind of assistance and we never have understood that.

COOPER: Ann, I read somewhere that you once said that, really, throughout this last year that you could almost lie in bed at night and hear the killer breathing.

PACE: It's a terrible awareness. I wish I didn't have it. You can't -- I can't stop thinking about him and being just a constant 24 hour, seven day a week awareness than he's out there and you feel like he's breathing -- he's a huge darkness just breathing in your ear.

COOPER: And Lynn was saying she felt that -- I'm sorry, go ahead, Lynn. I'm sorry, Lynn, go ahead.

MARINO: Anne was speaking.

COOPER: Oh, I'm sorry, I thought you were trying to get in.

Lynn, why do you think it did take so long in your words to connect the dots? Why were they so hesitant, in your opinion, to announce that this was a serial killing?

MARINO: Well, I think primarily they relied totally on DNA. Now, I touted DNA, I think it's wonderful, but you need to apply that along with the investigation. The crime scene, the basic things at the crime scene.

I feel that the initial murders were not properly investigated. I think they assumed that these were single women and, you know, it was a boyfriend or somebody they invited in and that was the end of the story. I don't think they had a homicide detective with the experience to go in there and do old-fashioned police work. That's, I think, one of the biggest mistakes they made.

COOPER: Lynn Marino and Ann Pace, we appreciate you joining us tonight. I appreciate you sharing your experiences over this horrible nightmare. Thank you very much for being with us.

MARINO: Thank you.

COOPER: I want to talk more now about the killer, whoever that is.

Pat Brown is the author of the book "Killing for Sport: Inside the Minds of Serial Killers." Now her organization, the Sexual Homicide Exchange, does criminal profiling for victims' families as well as for law enforcement, and she joins us now from Minneapolis.

Thanks for being with us.


COOPER: You just heard the mothers saying they thought this investigation took far too long, in their words to, connect the dots. As you see the investigation, was it too slow? What went wrong?

BROWN: Well, they're exactly right. The problem in our country is that serial homicide investigation is completely done wrong. Most of the time it is looked as a single crime so police keep it very quiet. They don't go to the community. They look for that boyfriend, that bad drug deal.

They don't look at every sexual homicide as a possible serial homicide, a possible serial killer and get right out there to the community and say, hey, this woman was killed yesterday at this time, this is what happened, who do you know? Your cousin, your friend, your relative who acted strange yesterday?

COOPER: What difference would that make it if they did identify it as a possible serial homicide from the get-go?

BROWN: Well, because most serial killers live right in the community and people do recognize their odd behaviors, and because we don't know who it is. You know, it's a stranger homicide. It's not someone that we automatically know is connected to a victim, like a boyfriend, in which case you have a suspect.

If we have a whole community and we don't know who it is, we need the community to tell us who the guy is, who we should be looking at before he disappears.

COOPER: There is a suspect now and he is just that, a suspect at this point, but let's talk about the killer. In the past you have said that whoever this killer is, is an angry retaliatory killer. What does that mean?

BROWN: Well, it means that he's angry at society, he's angry at the way his life has gone. He's a typical serial killer, and anger retaliatory serial killer is your usual type.

And that simply means that he gets to a point in his life where he thinks things are falling apart and he wants some kind of control and he goes out into, usually, his own community and he stalks and kills women.

This guy, Mr. Lee has the perfect background. He's got the peeping Tom, he's got the stalking, he's got the burglary, which is sometimes just a version of a rape, and he's got all these things. He's already been out there. People know his behaviors, people -- and he was turned in apparently by a tip from a family member, so they knew what he was like.

COOPER: And the fact that there was DNA evidence at each of these different murders, what do you make of that? Carelessness?

BROWN: I guess he just thought he'd never be identified. No one knew who he was. Since the police had not gone right to the community and asked who is this guy? And he'd gotten away with it, apparently. Most likely he did do those other killings back in 1992 and 1998.

He's gotten away with it. He's arrogant. He thinks, the police don't investigate properly, so I'm going to keep getting away with these things and, you know, he did for a very long time.

COOPER: Very often and what we heard earlier from law enforcement is the profile of the suspect was a white male. Why do we so often hear that?

BROWN: It's just an old mythology. In the beginning, when serial killers became, you know, kind of popular in the United States, in the movies and in books, they focused on killings that were well- investigated and those were usually white women, and since white men usually live near white women, more white serial killers were noted and therefore that became a kind of mythology.

But it's just ridiculous. I mean, serial killers are of any race and they kill any race, so white men kill black women, black men kill white women. They kill each -- Everybody kills everybody, essentially. So you can't focus in on a particular race unless you've got some good reason for it.

COOPER: The suspect -- The killer, whoever it is, knows that there is this massive manhunt now going on. How concerned should law enforcement be that he may kill again?

BROWN: They should be very concerned because he could go on a spree. If he believes that they're closing in on him, he may say, well, I just want to have fun before I get caught. So let me go do some more. So I do hope they move in rather quickly and catch him.

COOPER: There was such variety in the ages of the victims. Often, I guess, police look for patterns in the victims. Are there any in this case?

BROWN: There aren't as many patterns in serial homicides, that's another myth. That if the killer strap strangles a woman, he's always going to strangle a woman. That's just not true. They use what's available. Some have a preference but, you know, one day you leave your knife at home so you don't knife them you strangle them. You know, you might want a 22-year-old woman or a 20-year-old woman and gee, there just aren't any available but that pretty-looking 40-year-old woman is coming along. So I'll take her.

There just aren't the kind of M.O.s and signatures that we see from the movies out in real life.

And that's why, also, these killings go unsolved because if one woman is strangled over here, one woman is stabbed over here in two different jurisdiction, the police don't talk and they say this is a different guy. So it's never connected together.

COOPER: All right. Pat Brown, we're going to have to leave it there. I appreciate you joining us, adding your insight. Thank you.

BROWN: My pleasure.


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