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2017

Ledell Lee, Arkansas

Ledell Lee, Arkansas

April 20, 2017

Ledell LeeLedell Lee was executed by the state of Arkansas on Thursday, April 20, 2017. Ledell was pronounced dead at 11:56 pm local time, inside the execution chamber at the Cummins Unit near Varner, Arkansas. He was 51 years of age. Ledell was executed for murdering 26-year-old Debra Reese on February 9, 1993, in Sunnyside, Arkansas. He spent the last 21 years of his life on Arkansas’ death row.

Ledell was abandoned by his father after he was born. Ledell grew up with no father figure and came from a dysfunctional home.

Around 10 am on February 9, 1993, a man knocked on the door of William McCullough, Jr., and asked to borrow some tools, promising to return them. William gave the man a drive ratchet and a socket. The man never returned. William later identified the man as Ledell Lee.

Around 10:50 am, Katherine Williams received a phone call from her daughter Debra Reese. A man had just knocked on the door and asked to borrow some tools. He left after Debra said she did not have any tools, however, Debra remained uncomfortable. Debra promised to drive to Katherine’s house as soon as she finished curling her hair. Debra never arrived.

Andy Gomez lived across the street from Debra and observed a man, acting suspiciously, and entering Debra’s home through the screen door. Andy later identified the man as Lee. When the man left 20 minutes later, Andy followed him in his car. Andy observed the man stop and speak with a woman, who was also able to identify the man as Lee.

That afternoon, Debra’s body was discovered in her bedroom. She had been beaten 36 times with a tire thumper, which was given to Debra to use for protection while her husband was away. Bruising on her face and neck indicated that she was also strangled. During the investigation, it was discovered that three one-hundred-dollar bills were missing from her wallet. The bills were part of a stack belonging to Debra’s father and were in sequential order. Debra’s father had given three to her. Evidence showed that one of these bills was used by Lee to pay a debt at a Rent-a-Center.

As Lee awaited trial, he became the suspect in several other crimes, including the kidnapping and murder of 22-year-old Christine Lewis. Christine was abducted from her Sunnyside home in November 1989 as her three-year-old child watched. Christine was strangled to death and her body left in the closet of an abandoned house. The jury was unable to reach a verdict in the trial and the state decided not to retry Lee after he received the death sentence for Debra’s murder. Separately, Lee was also convicted on three charges of rape. 

Lee was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death on October 16, 1995.

He was the first person executed in Arkansas since 2005. 

Please pray for peace and healing for the families of Debra Reese, Christine Lewis, and all the women harmed. Please pray for strength for the family of Ledell Lee.

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