Serial killer Derrick Todd Lee's death marks an end to a dark chapter in Louisiana crime history. Although Lee spent the last few years on death row, he didn't die by execution, but instead in a hospital.
He was taken from his death row jail cell at Angola to the hospital earlier this week, where he died Thursday morning.
Lee was convicted in the deaths of two women and linked by DNA evidence to the murders of at least 5 others between 1998 and 2003. One of those women was Lafayette's Dene Colomb.
It was another Acadiana woman, who survived an attack by Lee, who helped put him away by testifying in court.
"The way the crimes were committed, the way the deaths occurred, were horrific and his death, well I hope he rots in hell," said St. Martin Parishes Assistant District Attorney Chester Cedars.
Lee's murders and attacks still evoke a range of emotions for many, including Cedars.
"He probably died a peaceful death, unlike his victims," Cedars said. "It's my understanding that he supposedly died of some kind of heart condition and I challenge whether a man that could commit the crimes he did could even have a heart."
Cedars was the prosecutor in the Dianne Alexander case. She says Lee attacked in her Breaux Bridge home in 2002. Alexander is believed to be the only victim who survived an attack by Lee.
It's DNA from that case that tied Lee to the others, those heinous crimes that still haunt so many.
"His death removes one of many obstacles from the lives of the victims," Cedars said. "The healing process can continue for them and this is just one less thing they have to worry about, when he would be executed."
An autopsy will be conducted to determine Lee's exact cause of death.