NewsCrime World

Alabama house massacre survivor 'was in abusive relationship with suspect'

Derrick Dearman
Derrick Dearman

A woman who managed to survive the massacre of five people at a rural house in Alabama was in an abusive relationship with the suspect.

The woman was hiding there from her abusive partner - who has now been charged with the mass murder.

Laneta Lester (24) managed to escape the horrific scenes with the three-month-old child of one of the victims.

Derrick Dearman has now been accused of the murders of five people at the house, including a pregnant woman, and then driving away with Lester and the baby.

A four-year-old child also survived the grisly murder scene in the city of Citronelle, about 30 miles north-west of Mobile.

"Given the way the scene looks, we're going to be here a couple of days," said Captain Paul Burch of the Mobile County Sheriff's Office.

"It's obviously a horrific scene."

Mobile county district attorney Ashley Rich said the crime scene where five people were "brutally and viciously murdered" was the worst she had seen in 20 years as a prosecutor.

Suspect Derrick Dearman of Leakesville, Mississippi, was taken into custody after he walked into the Greene County Sheriff's Office on Saturday afternoon and confessed to the crimes, said Captain Burch.

He said he expects Dearman to face five or six counts of capital murder.

Detectives are "attempting to establish the relationship between Dearman and the victims," said the sheriff's office on its official Twitter account.

It was clear that firearms and at least one other type of weapon had been used, said Captain Burch and Mr Rich.

However, Captain Burch added that it was not immediately clear whether the victims were attacked while sleeping or had put up a prolonged struggle.

Residents of the house called 911 to report a trespasser between midnight and 1am on Saturday, and Dearman appears to have been identified as the trespasser.

Captain Burch said he understood that Citronelle police responded to the call but did not find anyone.

The murders appear to have occurred later on Saturday morning.

A woman reported to Citronelle police on Saturday afternoon that she had been kidnapped and escaped.

Information from her account led Citronelle police to the house on Jim Platt Road.