5 Murdered After Trying to Protect Woman From Her Ex

Citronelle, Alabama, rocked by mass murder
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2016 3:40 PM CDT
5 Murdered After Trying to Protect Woman From Her Ex
Ambulances wait along Jim Platt Road west of Citronelle, Ala., joining a stream of law enforcement vehicles at the scene of multiple homicides on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016.   (Lawrence Specker/AL.com via AP)

Laneta Lester had been trying to end her relationship with 27-year-old Derrick Dearman, who allegedly abused her. And so she headed to Citronelle, Alabama, in hopes of finding shelter at a relative's house. The home's inhabitants gave it to her, but Dearman allegedly wrested it away in a brutal way. People reports the five people killed in that home were trying to protect Lester from Dearman, per a statement from the Mobile County Sheriff's Office. The AP reports Lester arrived at the home Friday; around 1am Saturday, one of Lester's relatives called 911 to report a sighting of Dearman. Responding officers didn't find him on the property.

He allegedly came back sometime before sunrise and killed Shannon Melissa Randall, 35; Justin Kaleb Reed, 23; Chelsea Marie Reed, 22; Joseph Adam Turner, 26; and Robert Lee Brown, 26. Chelsea Reed was 5 months pregnant. The AP reports it's unclear which of the adults was related to Lester, who authorities say was then kidnapped by Dearman along with a 3-month-old who was in home. After the trio arrived at Dearman's father's home in Mississippi, Lester and the baby were reportedly freed. Dearman then turned himself in at the Green County sheriff's department some 20 miles west of Citronelle "stating that he had killed someone or more than one person in Citronelle," per the Green County sheriff. Dearman is to be charged with six counts of capital murder. (More murder stories.)

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