Pre-trial hearings underway for man accused in capital murder of missing AU graduate

Local News

LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WRBL)  Thursday inside the Lee County Justice Center the parents of an Auburn University graduate, who vanished nearly 12-years ago, watched as the man accused of kidnapping and murdering their daughter had his first court appearance.

Lori Ann Slesinski vanished back in June of 2006 from her mobile home near Wire Road in Auburn. 12 years later a man who knew Slesinski while she lived in Auburn is accused of murdering her.  38-year old Derrill Richard Ennis began pre-trial procedures Thursday with his first court appearance in Lee County Judge Jacob Walker’s courtroom.

Ennis is missing the beard he had during his August 6th arrest in Virginia on Grand Jury Indictments for two counts of Capital Murder during a burglary and kidnapping. Ennis waived extradition and arrived at the Lee County Detention Facility Wednesday night, where he remains housed on no bond.

“This is a big case with lots of evidence and facts. We are just going through it step by step,” explained Brandon Hughes, after the hearing.

Two defense attorney’s appointed to Ennis declined to comment on the case to News 3.
Thursday’s hearing discussed a potential mental evaluation for Ennis. Plus, we learned Ennis is not eligible for a probable cause hearing, because he was arrested on grand jury indictments. Ennis will be arraigned next week on August 29th.

“At the arraignment, he will be formally charged and have an opportunity to enter a not guilty or guilty plea to the charges and get in the trial queue,” said Hughes.

Prosecutors refuse to discuss any case evidence that led to Ennis’ arrest including if Lori Ann’s body has been discovered.

Lori Ann’s parents sat quietly in the same courtroom as the man accused of taking their child’s life. The experience must have been a painful next step towards the answers and justice they’ve sought, on behalf of their daughter, for more than a decade.

Meanwhile, prosecutors say it’s too early to contemplate the possibility of seeking the death penalty against Ennis. Unless circumstances change, it appears we will be waiting until next year when Ennis is expected to go to trial before learning any details as to how and why prosecutors believe he killed Lori Ann.

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