Mental exam ordered for Alabama man charged with killing 9-year-old twins and baby sitter

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HAYNEVILLE, Alabama — A judge has ordered a mental exam for a man charged with killing 9-year-old twins and their baby sitter.

Lowndes County Circuit Judge Terri Bozeman Lovell ordered that Deandra Lee be examined by the state Department of Mental Health to see if he lacks the ability to assist in his defense. If he does, the department must report the condition causing his incompetency and the treatment required to correct it. The department must also evaluate whether he had a mental defect at the time of the alleged offense.

The judge issued the order at the request of District Attorney Charlotte Tesmer.

Defense attorney Jerry Thornton said Wednesday that he objects to the judge's order. He said the prosecution lacks reasonable cause to support the examination and the requested examination is overly broad and vague.

Lee, 24, has pleaded not guilty in the 2012 shooting deaths of Jordan Dejerinett and his sister Taylor Dejerinett of Montgomery, as well as their 73-year-old baby sitter, Jack Mac Girdner of Hope Hull.

Girdner, a retired anesthesiologist, went to church with the twins' mother and watched the twins while she was at work. She reported the three missing on June 4, 2012, when she went to pick them up after work and found no one home. Their bodies were discovered the next day a few miles away off a dirt road near Hayneville in Lowndes County. Lee was arrested June 9 at an apartment in Selma. His last known address was across the street from the twins' residence.

At the time of his arrest, he was out on bond on charges from Dallas and Lowndes counties. He was charged in Dallas County with possessing a firearm with an altered serial number, obstruction of justice, resisting arrest and violation of a license to carry a pistol. He was out on bond in Lowndes County for a charge of third-degree robbery stemming from a car theft.

Lee was previously acquitted of capital murder charges in Dallas County, where he was accused of killing two fellow gang members in 2008.

Since being in jail, he has been indicted on a charge of promoting prison contraband. Lowndes County sheriff's deputies reported they searched his jail cell on Oct. 16, 2012, after getting a report that he had threatened a witness, and they found a cellphone and prison-made weapon, which was a razor blade attached to a metal handle. They reported that the cellphone contained photos that Lee had made of himself while in jail. After that, he was transferred to the Autauga County jail in Prattville.

Lee is scheduled for trial Oct. 14 in Hayneville.

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