Monday, August 20, 2012

Mishawaka, IN: UPDATE: Convicted South Bend killer arrested for wife's death

The St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit is investigating a domestic homicide that was discovered around 2:30 a.m. Saturday.

Investigators later booked Tarrance Lee, 49, of Mishawaka, on a preliminary charge of murder, a crime he's been convicted of in the past.

Detectives tell NewsCenter 16, they served a search warrant at Lee's home at the Hickory Village Apartment complex in Mishawaka.

While police won't say much, they have confirmed Lee's arrest stems from the alleged killing of his wife. However, her name and the location of the murder scene have yet to be released.

In 1986, Lee was convicted of one of the most brutal crimes in South Bend history, a drug-related double homicide inside a home on at 505 E. Corby Blvd. Both victims had been beaten, stabbed, tortured and shot. Lee was later convicted of the crime and sentenced to 110 years in prison.

But in 2003, a third victim who was shot in the same incident, but survived, testified that Lee never pulled the trigger. That led St. Joseph County Prosecutor Michael Dvorak to advocate for Lee's prison release in 2006, 35 years before his sentence would have expired.

"I think clearly, a large reduction in sentence. I think it's merited if the man was not responsible for the attempted murder as his victim has sworn under oath. That's reason enough to reduce that sentence,” Dvorak said in an interview with NewsCenter 16 back in 2003. “Secondly and as important, the cooperation that Mr. Lee has shown the State of Indiana, in clearing ten homicide cases is very significant too."

That cooperation ran dry in Dec. 2010 when Lee, who drove a semi truck for South Bend based "Storm Trucking," ran a red light and t-boned a minivan in Hamilton County, near Noblesville, Ind. The crash killed David Clouser, 65, of Carmel, Ind. and seriously injuring two of his passengers.

Police arrested Lee, who refused a breathalyzer test, for Criminal Recklessness Causing Death and False Informing. It's still unclear why the repeat criminal was not behind bars less than two years later.

This marks the second recent local homicide allegedly committed by men who've been convicted of the heinous crime before.

In June, police arrested Steven Clippinger, 41, for the murder of his brother and sister-in-law inside their Mishawaka home. Clippinger had been convicted of murder in 1990, but was released on parole in Apr. 2010.

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