GA murder suspect charged; asphyxiated stepdaughter, shot others - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

GA murder suspect charged; asphyxiated stepdaughter, shot others

The latest mugshot of Thomas Jesse Lee. (Source: Troup County Sheriff's Office) The latest mugshot of Thomas Jesse Lee. (Source: Troup County Sheriff's Office)
Thomas Lee in court Wednesday, (Source: Jenyne Donaldson/WTVM) Thomas Lee in court Wednesday, (Source: Jenyne Donaldson/WTVM)
TROUP COUNTY, GA (WTVM) - Murder suspect Thomas Lee was formally charged with five counts of malice murder during his first court appearance in LaGrange, GA on Wednesday. 

Troup County Magistrate Judge Vickie Sue McWaters read the warrants to Lee, 26, in a hearing that lasted just over three minutes. Lee is currently being held without bond and was scheduled a preliminary hearing for Lee on Feb. 19. During the short proceedings, Lee waived the reading of his rights to him. 

During the reading of the warrants, Judge McWaters said that Lee beat and shot his father-in-law, William Burtron, and shot and killed his wife, Christie Lee, mother-in-law, Sheila Burtron, and family friend, Iioanna Green. Judge McWaters said crimes happened some time between Jan. 28 and Jan. 31, 2015. 

The judge also said Lee killed his stepdaughter, Bailey Burtron, by asphyxiation. All five were found dead in a their LaGrange home on the 100 block of Woodstream Drive on Jan. 31. 

The victims' families were not present in court today. Probable cause to determine if Lee committed these crimes he's charged with will be heard and determined during the Feb. 19. hearing. Lee has also been granted legal representation. 

Lee was brought back to Georgia on Tuesday night after being detained at a bus station in Tupelo, MS Monday night. Lee arrived at a bus station after a pastor at a church in Alcorn, MS purchased Lee a bus ticket to Opelika, AL, where he has family.

Lee is accused of murdering five people in LaGrange, and Troup County, GA law enforcement believes Lee may have committed the crimes at some time last week.

Troup County Sgt. Stewart Smith says the families say it was a relief when the received notice that Lee was in custody.

Meanwhile, the official autopsies results for the victims have not been released. Police said four of the victims were shot while another's cause of death is unknown.

The vehicle he was driving in was found in Tennessee, and Troup County Sheriff's officials are working to bring the car back to Georgia.

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