Alabama Man Who Killed 5, Including Pregnant Woman, Requests Execution

(L) Derrick Dearman, 35. (Photo via: Greene County Sheriff’s Department via AP) / (R) (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)

OAN’s Brooke Mallory
9:39 AM – Thursday, April 11, 2024

A death row inmate in Alabama has fought his sentence for nearly six years after being found guilty of the murders of five people, including a pregnant mother. However, he now claims that he has urged authorities to execute him.


Derrick Dearman, 35, who was originally born in Greene County, Mississippi, says that it is time for “justice to be delivered” and that his execution would be “the right thing to do.”

“I don’t want to die,” Dearman told CNN in a phone interview on Friday. “But I feel it in my heart that this is the only option that would help the victims’ families get the closure they need to move forward.”

“I made peace with my decision.”

According to a sentencing order filed in the case, Dearman broke into a home in the small Alabama town of Citronelle early on August 20th, 2016. He proceeded to walk through the house, utilizing a shotgun, an axe, and a.45 pistol, to attack each of the five inhabitants one by one while high on hard drugs.

Shannon Melissa Randall, Robert Lee Brown, Justin Kaleb Reed, Joseph Adam Turner, and five-month pregnant Chelsea Marie Reed were the individuals who were slain by Dearman. Technically, he killed six people if you are counting Reed’s unborn child.

Dearman left the scene with the infant son of two victims as well as his former girlfriend. He later turned himself in to the local police after committing his crimes.

On August 31st, 2018, he entered a guilty plea to capital murder charges. The death penalty was suggested by the jury. Dearman’s sentence judgment states that both of his parents testified that their son’s “long-term drug abuse was the central problem in their son’s life.”

Dearborn said that he initially attempted to challenge the verdict, but only in order to protect his family, whom he says wanted him to keep fighting.

“They have a right, as my family, to try to be presented with [the] opportunity to seek relief from the sentence that I was cast, because no father wants their son to die,” Dearman said to reporters. “What they’ve seen was a drug addict; what they’ve seen was a man who literally wasn’t in his own mind; he was in a mental fetal position,” he added.

Dearman informed his family that he would permit several years of appeal attempts when he filed his first appeal in October 2018. However, his convictions were upheld after the Alabama Supreme Court rejected a move to appeal his sentence in February.

Now, some 5.5 years after his conviction, Dearman claims the conflict is resolved in his own mind.

“It’s just time to do what I know is right and what I know I gotta do,” he said. “My family’s right was secured; now it’s time for the victims and their families to get what’s right to them and what they deserve and that’s for justice to be delivered.”

According to Dearman, he fired the Equal Justice Initiative lawyers who were defending him in the appeals process on April 4th. Dearman told CNN that he asked the state’s attorney general and Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R-Ala.), to execute his death sentence in a number of letters.

One letter was received by the office of Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, a representative named Amanda Priest told reporters.

Three days before the murders took place, Dearman was helping scrap a metal trailer at the residence on August 17th. However, the sentence judgment states that Dearman’s demeanor and actions made at least one resident of the home feel “uncomfortable.”

In the end, Shannon Randall—who had a young son who was only three months old—said that although she did not want Dearman to live “in the same home as her infant,” he could still use the location to continue working there.

About fifteen minutes beyond the state border, in George County, Mississippi, he left and went back to the house where he lived with his girlfriend. According to court documents, that night he took methamphetamines and started acting aggressively.

His girlfriend left the following day.

Dearman then went back to the other house in the hopes of talking to his girlfriend, since she was friends with the residents and would often stay there. However, he was told to go. That evening, he returned three more times, which prompted Joseph Adam Turner, Randall’s spouse, to notify the police.

The sentence statement states that although police kept a watch outside the house, they departed at three in the morning when their shift changed.

Later in the morning, Dearman made one last trip back on foot. He then admitted to detectives that he had taken meth again before later breaking into the house.

The sentence judgment states that Dearman, growing irritated, “demanded she [his girlfriend] stay and talk to him” and he refused to leave.

After leaving the house again, he came back, but this time, carrying an axe that he had taken from a nearby tree. Dearman then quickly moved through the home, attacking several of the sleeping residents with his weapons.

Turner and Randall, the parents of the young son, were his first targets.

After that, Dearman shot one of the victims after removing a .45 pistol from him. According to the sentencing order, he also used another shotgun in the attack.

“After the initial attack was completed, the defendant meticulously shot each victim to ensure death,” according to court filings.

The sentence judgment states that he then ordered his partner to follow him, taking the young boy with them since he had murdered his parents. The judgment described the attack as “particularly heinous” and “atrocious,” mentioning that each victim was conscious for a while following the severe assault.

When Dearman later informed his father what had transpired earlier that day, he was convinced to turn himself in to the police.

Dearman told CNN on Friday that after being imprisoned and allowed to eat, sleep, and get the drugs out of his system, the reality of the crimes he had committed started to sink in. He claimed that after that, he began “talking to God” and realized that losing his life was the cost he would have to bear.

Dearman emphasized that his choice was “not for my own gain” and acknowledged that, although he had considered it, he didn’t want to add to the victims’ suffering.

“From my point of view, there’s nothing that I could ever say or do that will make this right. I feel like I personally have a debt for the crimes that I committed,” Dearman told reporters. “That’s the only way that I could ever show that I’m truly remorseful, that I truly do have a conscience.”

Dearman also said that he understood how some might doubt his ability to make the difficult choice.

“Yes, I’m confident I’m in my right mind. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be trying to think about the victims’ families and their feelings, my family and their feelings. I wouldn’t be trying to think about how people might view the death penalty,” he continued.

“I feel it in my heart that this is the only option that would help the victims’ families get the closure they need to move forward.”

UPDATE: Top date corrected – 2023 date was changed to 2024.

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