Derrick Dearman was sentenced to death and is on Alabama Death Row for five murders. According to court documents Derrick Dearman would shoot and kill Joseph Adam Turner, 26, Shannon Melissa Randall, 35, Robert Lee Brown, 26, Justin Kaleb Reed, 23 and Chelsea Marie Reed, 22, who was five months pregnant. Derrick Dearman would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death
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Derrick Dearman, the man who killed five people and one unborn baby during a meth-induced killing spree in Citronelle more than two years ago, was sentenced to death Friday.
Without ritual or drama, Mobile Circuit Court Judge Rick Stout said that the court agreed with jury’s recommendation in sentencing the 30-year-old father of two to death.
In coming to his conclusion, Judge Stout dispelled myths about Dearman’s mental health and notions that his drug use mitigated the murders. “Those mitigating factors were found not to exist,” said the 72-year-old veteran judge. “After the axe attack took place, Dearman then callously shot each victim
Judge Stout spoke at length and in gruesome detail about how each the five victims died, describing the axe wounds and then the shootings, only briefly being interrupted by sobbing from one of the victim’s families.
Dearman pleaded guilty in late September after firing his attorneys. The move came after Stout deemed Dearman mentally fit to stand trial. While most criminal cases would be concluded after a guilty plea, capital offenses are still heard in front of a jury, per Alabama law.
In denying the motion that Dearman was unfit to stand trial, Judge Stout said:
“It clearly appeared the defendant does have such rational understandings. His answers to the Court’s questions were responsive and his understanding of trial proceedings was above normal,” the judge wrote. “Eye contact was maintained during questioning, and nothing regarding his appearance or actions were abnormal.”
Dearman was found guilty during that trial and the jury recommended the death penalty for the killing of Robert Lee Brown, 26; Chelsea Marie Reed, 22; Justin Kaleb Reed, 23; Joseph Adam Turner, 26; Shannon Melissa Randall, 35. The sixth murder charge was filed because Chelsea Reed was five months pregnant with her and Justin Reed’s first child.
The bodies were found in an isolated home on a dirt road west of Citronelle on Aug. 20, 2016. Law enforcement officials alleged at the time Dearman entered the home in the early hours of the morning; attacked the sleeping residents using an axe and at least one firearm. Police say he later kidnapped his estranged girlfriend and an unrelated infant, eventually freeing them after he took them to a relative’s home in Mississippi.
After the sentence was handed down, District Attorney Ashley Rich asked the judge to consider preventing Dearman and his family from profiting from his story by signing movie, TV show and any sort of book deal, for example. Judge Stout said he agreed with the request in principle but would need a motion written up at a later date. “I have no objections to that request,” shouted Dearman from his seated position.
As court was adjourned, Dearman was stood up by some of the eleven law enforcement officers in the courtroom and led away. Dressed in blue with white sneakers, Dearman looked back at his father who smiled and held up his fist in response.