Former co-workers, roommates take witness stand in the Lori Slesinski murder case
LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WTVM) - Today, two former acquaintances of Derrill Richard Ennis, a roommate and co-worker, shared what they called odd conversations with Ennis in the time following the disappearance of Lori Slesinski.
Sixteen years ago, Lori Slesinski was reported missing. Prosecutors said Ennis, also known as Rick, considered himself a friend of Slesinski’s and was infatuated with her. Ennis was arrested and charged with her murder years later, in 2018.
Slesinski’s body has never been found, but her car was discovered after being burned on Dekalb Street in Auburn.
AMF Auburn Lanes mechanic Jeremy Brooks said Ennis started working as a cook at the bowling alley in 2004. Brooks said on Friday, June 9, 2006, he received a call on his home phone from Ennis.
“What did he say when he called you on that night?”
“He said he had run out of gas and if there was any way I could run and get him some gas,” answered Brooks.
Brooks stopped by the bowling alley to grab a gas can and filled it up after he left to meet Ennis in the parking lot of a church.
Ennis asked Brooks to fill up his tank for him and wanted to keep the can, but Brooks said no.
After Ennis filled the tank, he gave the gas can back and drove off.
Brooks believed it was unusual the car started up so fast after allegedly running out of gas. Officers would later find a gas can near Slesinski’s burned vehicle.
“One of the gas cans was missing, there should be three, and there was only two.”
Ennis moved to Huntsville shortly after the investigation started. Ennis’ roommate, Abam Sissons, said the two met working at a Ruby Tuesday’s.
Sissons said Ennis told him he used to live in Auburn and that he was in love with a woman who had disappeared named Lori Slesinski.
“There were these rugs at Butches’ house that he said that she gave to him as a present.”
Sissons googled Ennis after finding mail with his full name on it. Next, he contacted the Alabama Bureau of Investigations after reading more articles about Ennis’ connections to Slesinski. Sissons then called Ennis to tell him to leave his apartment.
Sissons said he stayed with his girlfriend for a night before asking the Huntsville police to escort him to his apartment the next day. When entering, he said the apartment was trashed with broken, ripped, cut and stolen items. His oven was also left on.
“Was there anything inside the oven?”
“Yes, there was a glass with some kind of liquid and some kind of burn wick thing hanging out of it,” Sissons replied
Sissons met with the Auburn Police Department and turned over rugs, pillows, and the glass found in the oven.
Today prosecutors asked if he had ever seen a galileo thermometer, and he replied, “Yes, in Rick’s room at Butches’ house, Ennis’s roommate before Sissons.” According to testimony from Slesinski’s mother, an item fitting a similar description was reported missing from her mobile home.
Terry Booth, a former co-worker of Ennis’s at a Sams club in South Carolina in 2009, asked Ennis why he moved from Auburn. His response shocked everyone in the courtroom.
Booth said he and Ennis worked at a Sams Club in the electronic department. Then, Booth said he and Ennis went out to eat at Wild Wings Café.
He had asked Ennis why he left Auburn. Ennis had told him he got in some trouble and said he needed to get out of town.
Booth said he asked another time the specifics, and Ennis said he was talking to a girl, and she only wanted to be friends, so he moved away from her.
“He said he had to take care of some business and strangle a bleep,” said Booth.
“Not necessarily the exact location, but did he say an area of where this happened?”
“No, he just made a remark to indicate the location,” answered Booth.
“And what was that remark?”
“That she was a white piece of trailer park trash.”
Later in 2018, Booth found out Ennis was arrested after getting sent an article from a friend.
He immediately got flashbacks from that day back in 2009 and called the number at the bottom of the article to investigators of their previous conversation.
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