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Murder of Leslie ‘Crickett’ Lanham-Lee by husband Charles ‘Steve’ Lee highlighted on Dead Before Sunrise

Charles Steve Lee photo
Charles “Steve” Lee, who murdered Leslie ‘Crickett’ Lanham-Lee. Pic credit: Kentucky Department of Corrections

The murder of Leslie “Crickett” Lanham-Lee by her husband Charles “Steve” Lee is featured in the latest episode of Dead Before Sunrise on Investigation Discovery.

On the morning of March 4, 2011, the 40-year old community activist and co-founder of Borrowed Angels Charity Riders was found dead in her home on East Main Street in Greenup, Kentucky, and her dog, a pit bull mix named Pandy who was protective of her, was missing.

Leslie had been stabbed twice in the neck.

An autopsy revealed that Leslie bled to death within 10 minutes of being stabbed and there was no sign of a struggle.

Pandy was later found alive in Howland Hill near A-A Highway close to the Greenup-Lewis County line.

A Greenup County police officer who questioned Lee stated that his shirt was on backward, and he appeared to be deceptive when he gave his account of what happened.

Leslie’s husband told investigators that around 4am he woke up and could not go back to sleep, so he went for a drive.

Lee said he stopped at a convenience store and purchased two drinks before stopping at the Carl Perkins Bridge at Portsmouth. When he returned to his home, he said he found his wife dead.

Lee went on to say that he believed his wife’s death resulted from a disagreement she had with members of the Pagans outlaw motorcycle gang.

However, one of his friend’s, Derek Justice, testified that Lee gave a different version of how Leslie was killed.

He said Lee told him that a group of men with northern accents broke into his home and held him at gunpoint.

Lee told Justice that the men threatened his children’s lives before stabbing Leslie to death.

Greenup County officials determined he wasn’t being truthful about his whereabouts on the morning of Leslie’s murder, and that he was not captured on surveillance footage from the Carl Perkins Bridge.

Police uncovered an email Lee sent to his ex-wife, Tonya Hunt, that stated: “As soon as I get stuff done and over with, we’ll be together soon for a new beginning.”

Lee was allegedly making plans to reunite with his ex-wife and take a trip to Tennessee, but she wasn’t the only one he was talking to behind his wife’s back.

He reportedly made advances toward other women and told them he would soon be divorced.

Officials said Lee told the women that he would receive $80,000 from Leslie’s life insurance if he’s not found guilty of her murder.

Lee was later arrested. While in custody, an inmate claimed he confessed to killing his wife and stated that if he could do it all over again, he would have killed their dog too.

The jury deliberated for 40 minutes before finding Lee guilty of his wife’s murder.

He was sentenced to life in prison with parole after 20 years.

Dead Before Sunrise airs at 9pm on Investigation Discovery.

Angelica N. Sumter is a freelance journalist who has covered true crime for more than 10 years. In addition to Monsters and Critics, her work... read more
Angelica N. Sumter

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