It’s likely that Tarrence Lee is now one of the most sentenced men in Michiana.
At age 49, Lee today was sentenced for his third murder in the last 25 years.
The latest involved the death of his wife, Trina Winston, whose body was found near a vacant home near Chicago.
Today, Lee was ordered to serve 65 years in prison for Winston's murder.
In 1987, Lee was 23 years old when he received three separate 40 year sentences: Two for murder, and one for attempted murder.
Having seen the scene of that double homicide at a home on Corby Street in 1986, the lead investigator in the case never thought Lee would live long enough to kill again.
“I thought when the sentences were imposed the first time, I though that yes, he would spend, he'd be a very, very old man before he ever got out of jail,” said former South Bend Police detective Dave Dosmann. “If, you know, (he) served half of the original sentence he would have been a very old man.”
Dosmann was one of dozens who came to the courtroom today as a spectator to see Lee sentenced again.
“You know, if he was still in jail like he should have been for the first two murders he committed, my dad might still be here,” said another spectator, Angela Clouser of Carmel.
Angela’s dad is David Clouser who was killed in a traffic accident in December of 2010 when his van was struck by a semi-truck driven by Tarrence Lee.
Lee initially faced a charge of criminal recklessness, but that was later dropped. In the end, Lee received a ticket for running a red light.
“He refused the blood alcohol test, so therefore they couldn't get him on anything but running a red light,” said Angela Clouser. “It there’s any kind of accident with a fatality or injury, especially if you’re holding a CDL, there should be an automatic blood draw.”
Clouser has been inspired by Tarrence Lee to seek changes in the law, and she's not the only one.
Relatives of Trina Winston--Lee’s latest murder victim--have started a petition drive to end good time credit for violent offenders.
Good time credit is an incentive system that reduces a prisoner’s sentence by one day, for every day of good behavior.
“My sister died for a lot of people to live,” said CeCelia Bronson, Trina Winston’s sister. “I’m one of them. I got to do something good about it.”
In 1987, Tarrance Lee and Willie Foulks were both convicted of the 1986 double homicide on Corby Street in South Bend. Foulks is still in prison with a projected release date of October 2069.
Tarrance Lee had his sentenced reduced by some 35 years for helping prosecutors to close 10 murder cases with information he obtained while behind bars.