WV Supreme Court Sends Convicted Murderer's Case Back to Marion County
Written by Whitney Wetzel
Last updated on January 28, 2013 @ 3:40PM
Created on January 28, 2013 @ 2:49PM
Just a little more than five years ago, Derrick Osborne was found murdered in Fairmont. Three men, who were all involved with the case, have been released from prison. But one man, who some argue had the least to do with the actual crime, is still behind bars. In October, 5 News spoke exclusively to Donell Lee's family about why they felt his case wasn't justified. This week, 5 News learned that Lee will get another chance in from of a judge.
Donell Lee's attorney, Sherman Lambert, told 5 News the WV Supreme Court of Appeals agreed to send seven points for appeal back to Marion County Circuit Court for Judge David Janes to hear. If Judge Janes agrees with one of those points for appeal, Lee will be granted a new trial. If he doesn't agree with any of them, Lambert said he still plans to send the appeal back to the state supreme court.
When 5 News spoke exclusively with Lee's grandmother and father in October, their hope at that time was for the case to be sent back to Marion County Circuit Court and be granted an appeal. This week, they're able to breathe and small sigh of relief.
Attorney Sherman Lambert explained how the family felt after hearing this decision, "Their position is: how can this happen? How can my son, or grandson, brother, spend almost four years in prison and all of the other co-defendants are out?"
On the night of May 28th, 2007, Derrick Osborne was shot multiple times in the Bellview area of Fairmont. According to investigators, four men were responsible for planning his murder: LaFayette Jenkins, who was accused of being the ring leader and Steven Podolsky, who was said to have drove Lincoln Taylor to Osborne's home so that Taylor could shoot him, have all been released from prison.
But Donell Lee, who was only accused of pointing his finger to the home where Osborne lived, days before the shooting even happened, still remains behind bars. He's left to spend at least the next 10 years behind those prison walls unless an appeal is granted.
"It seems to me that the fair thing to do would be to allow Mr. Lee to go home. The man believes that he will be free. He believes that eventually the courts will do the right thing," said Sherman Lambert.
No matter the outcome, 5 News will keep you updated on this story.
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