Knowing your neighbor could be considered just one perk to living in a small town. But after the scene that swarmed West Fawn Street in Caldwell Friday afternoon, many residents are wondering what caused their neighbor, 51-year-old Eddie Lee, to snap.
"It’s pretty disturbing, you don't want to think that something like that would happen or occur in your own town,” said Caldwell Police Captain Charles Darling.
Police say it is unclear what caused Lee to fatally shoot his girlfriend Friday afternoon -- or why he allegedly sexually assaulted her granddaughter. But what is clear is Lee’s lengthy criminal record.
Lee was convicted of indecency with a child on September 30, 1993; he was sentenced to ten years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice System, or TDCJ. He additionally served time for aggravated assault. Records indicate both of these crimes occurred in Burleson County.
After only four years in the TDCJ, Lee was released on June 13, 1997 on what's called: “Mandatory Supervision".
According to a TDCJ spokesperson, “Mandatory Supervision” is a type of release from prison provided by law for restricted categories of offenders. Eligible offenders are released on MS when their calendar time served added to their good time credit equals the length of their prison sentence. Under the law in effect until August 31, 1996, release to mandatory supervision was automatic, with no requirement for release approval from the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole.
Lee was charged with various other crimes including: failure to comply with sex offender registration, obstruction or retaliation, criminal mischief and resisting arrest.
Residents on West Fawn Street are still in shock, especially since some say they never knew Lee was a registered sex offender.
One man we spoke to off camera said, “I have lived here for a few years and never saw his face, that is, until I saw it on the news.”
Meanwhile, another neighbor says she thought “Eddie genuinely loved his girlfriend.” She went on to say, “They were great people, but over the last two weeks, he [Lee] just changed, I don’t know why,” she said.
Caldwell Middle School is exactly 0.4 miles away from Lee’s residence. Texas Law states that "Paroled sex offenders are not allowed to be within 500 feet of any place where children are known to congregate.
However, once the offender has served their sentence, there are no regulations preventing them from being around children or in Eddie's case, living two doors down from Caldwell Middle School.
Online records indicate there are 73 sex offenders registered in Burleson County. Out of that number, 37 are living in Caldwell; if you dig a little deeper, you'll find 12 living less than mile from the middle school, including Lee.
If an offender is deemed likely to commit another crime, postcards with the name of the offender and a photo are mailed to homes within three blocks of offenders in municipal areas and within one mile of offenders in rural areas
"This is just my personal opinion, but as a father and a grandfather, I would be concerned if a sex offender was living next door,” said Captain Darling. “There are definitely ways for resident’s to keep track of who is living next door.”
Depending on whether or not Lee is convicted of capital murder -- residents in this tiny community will have one relief from one less sex offender living in their backyard.
Lee is charged with capital murder, aggravated sexual assault of a child as well as aggravated kidnapping. His bond is set at $2.5 million.
To find out how many sex offenders are living near you, click on the link below this story.
"News 3 will not reveal the name or identity of victim's of sexual assault. Our goal is to maximize truth while minimizing harm; with that said, due to the nature of the crime and the relationship between the sexual assault victim and the murder victim, News 3 will not disclose the name of the murder victim."
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