Man who shared La. trailer where 4 died is jailed

Published 2:13 am Sunday, September 12, 2010

A man who shared the trailer near Lake Charles where four people were killed over the weekend denied killing them as he was brought into the Calcasieu Parish jail before dawn Friday. A crime lab was going through evidence from his SUV, the sheriff said, and he was being held as a material witness.

Lee Roy Williams, 52, shackled and in an orange jumpsuit, hid his face with his left hand as reporters peppered him with questions during a brief walk from a squad car to the jai. Asked what happened in the trailer, Williams said he didn’t know. “I wasn’t there,” he said.

Williams said he had been in Baton Rouge during the past few days.

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Williams was arrested Thursday afternoon after a standoff with police and sheriff’s deputies just outside the Louisiana State University campus. His bond was set at $5 million.

“Were you involved in anything in Lake Charles? Any murders there?” a reporter asked immediately after the arrest.

“Not at all. I don’t know anything about that,” Williams said.

Calcasieu sheriff’s spokeswoman Kim Myers said in a news release that a lot of evidence was taken from the blue Ford Explorer and being analyzed by the Southwest Louisiana Crime Lab.

Sheriff Tony Mancuso said deputies were continuing to follow up leads around the clock.

Last Friday, Williams had supper with all four victims — Crystal Dawn Fruge, 28, Jessica M. Eugene, 26, Terry Lynn Banks, 19, and Kendrick Warren Lavergne, 29 — and Fruge’s mother, Mancuso has said.

Their bodies were found Monday, after Fruge’s mother came to the trailer because she had been unable to get in touch with her daughter since their supper.

Mancuso has said investigators believe that the four were killed between 3 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. Saturday.

After Williams’ arrest, the sheriff described him as a “very, very, very strong person of interest.”

Calcasieu deputies located Williams’ SUV, which police had been looking for since the bodies were found. East Baton Rouge sheriff’s deputies, city police and LSU campus police had the vehicle surrounded within 10 minutes, Mancuso said.

Three passengers got out. All three had met Williams in Baton Rouge, and were released after questioning, sheriff’s spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks said in an e-mail.

Williams then put the SUV into reverse toward a sheriff’s deputy, who jumped out of the way, according to the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office.

As it headed toward the exit, another deputy fired at the tires, according to the statement from the sheriff’s spokeswoman.

“The driver attempted to drive his vehicle over the guard rails at the park, where he became stuck,” Hicks wrote.

LSU Campus Police Sgt. Blake Tabor, who also was there, said Williams refused to get out but surrendered after about 40 minutes of negotiations with East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputies.

Williams now faces a charge of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer, Hicks said.

The sheriff has said that Williams has moved often, frequented homeless shelters and had convictions in North Carolina for involuntary manslaughter and breaking and entering, and had convictions in Mississippi for larceny and forgery.

The sheriff said his own office has an arrest warrant for Williams on unrelated drug charges.

Williams’ last known addresses were in Meridian, Miss., and Chicago, Mancuso said.