Criminal Charge: Sexually Abusing a Minor Child
Case: State v. Darrell Lacelle Lee
Court: [CF-02-3562, Tulsa County]
Result: Plea Bargain to Five Years
Mr. Lee was charged with inappropriately touching a friend’s daughter. The State offered him 30 years in prison in return for a guilty plea. This case is a great example of why you should NEVER agree to speak to the police without a lawyer. Here’s what happened.
Five Tulsa Police Department officers went to the home of Mr. Lee’s fiance after Mr. Lee’s jealous ex-girlfriend [and the child’s mother] made a report to DHS that he had touched her during his visitation with the child. The fiance answered the door, told them to leave and shut the door. The police persisted, looking through the windows and knocking until she relented. Mr. Lee refused to go with them, but they overcame his refusals and took him in a patrol car to the station for an interrogation. [Later, they would insist he agreed to go to the station, was always free to leave, and that his statement was voluntary…].
A detective grilled him for 4 hours and the entire thing was videotaped. Mr. Lee denied any inappropriate touching 35 times. The detective threatened to arrest the child’s mother and put the child in DHS custody if he refused to confess. The detective lied to him about the investigation results. Finally, he manipulated Mr. Lee into saying he may have inadvertently grazed the child in an inappropriate way in an inappropriate place.
Haslam filed a motion to suppress the “confession” and examined the detective under oath. [See an image of the motion.] The State reduced its offer several times until Mr. Lee finally relented and pled to 5 years in prison. The Court never ruled on the motion to suppress his “confession”.
This case should have gone to trial or been dismissed. Unfortunately, Mr. Lee succumbed to the pressure of a possible life sentence and pled guilty, knowing he would discharge the sentence in approximately 3 years.