HAYNEVILLE, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama man acquitted in a double murder is being charged with killing 9-year-old twins and their elderly baby sitter earlier this week, a prosecutor said Thursday.
Police are looking for Deandra Marquis Lee, 22, who was out on bail on felony gun and robbery charges when the killings occurred Tuesday. He has been charged with three counts of murder, Lowndes County District Attorney Charlotte Tesmer said.
Authorities believe the slayings happened on a dirt road where the bodies were found. All three victims had been shot, the Alabama Bureau of Investigation said Thursday night.
It was unclear if Lee knew any of the victims or their families.
Authorities previously identified Lee as a person of interest in the deaths of 9-year-old Jordan Dejerinett and his sister Taylor, as well as 73-year-old Jack Mac Girdner.
Girdner was a family friend who watched the children for their mother while she was at work. Authorities said Girdner had known the family for about three years after meeting them at the church they attended in Montgomery.
Girdner was an anesthesiologist in California before retiring and moving back to his home state a few years ago, Tesmer said.
Investigators found the bodies Tuesday a few miles from the man's home in Hope Hull in central Alabama. When the twins' mother returned from work, there was nobody at the house, said Lowndes County Sheriff's Chief Deputy James Martin.
The ABI said late Thursday that Girdner's 1988 Mercedes Benz was found in Dallas County and that all four doors had been removed.
Lee was arrested Dec. 15 in Dallas County and charged with a felony count of possessing a firearm with an altered serial number, obstruction of justice, resisting arrest and violation of a license to carry a pistol, said District Attorney Michael Jackson. Lee fought with officers who stopped him in Selma, Jackson said, though it wasn't clear why he was initially pulled over.
On Feb. 9, in neighboring Lowndes County, Lee was arrested on a third-degree robbery charge stemming from a strong-arm car theft in July 2011, said Chief Deputy James Martin. He was released on bond in that case, too.
"It's up to the judge. We can't refuse to release them," Martin said.
The car theft occurred about four months after Lee was acquitted in Dallas County on two counts of capital murder and one count of attempted murder in a 2008 shooting, Jackson said.
Lee was riding in a car with three fellow gang members when a dispute erupted over a gun, Jackson said. Two men were slain and a third man was wounded, and jurors acquitted Lee after he and the survivor each accused the other of the slayings.
"There was a big dispute about who did the killing in the case," he said. "It was a hung jury for like three days and he finally got acquitted."
The ABI said Lee is believed to be in the Selma area of Dallas County, and is likely armed and extremely dangerous. U.S. Marshals are assisting in the search.
"We have been working closely with the ABI and other agencies in the hunt for Mr. Lee," Selma Chief of Police William T. Riley told The Selma Times-Journal on Thursday. "We have received tips that claim he is in this area or that area and we are aggressively chasing those leads down."
Lee most recently lived in Montgomery.