Tommy Lee Sells, a 35 year old drifter, was charged with the murder of 13 year old Kaylene Harris. While in custody, Sells recounted a 22 year long crime and murder spree spanning several states. In the early morning hours of December 31, 1999, 10 year old Krystal Surles and her friend Kaylene, were brutally attacked by a knife-wielding Sells, who slashed their throats. Kaylene died but Krystal walked to a neighbor's house for help and survived. She helped police identify the killer despite her injuries. Sells was arrested two days after the crime. During questioning, he told police that he had committed dozens of murders over the past 20 years. He said he committed his first murder in Hollywood, California, in a street fight. He said that he killed people all over the country, from California to West Virginia. On September 12, 2000, Sells was put on trial for killing Kaylene. The charge was first degree murder, which can warrant the death penalty. The key witness was Krystal, who was then 11. He was convicted of capital murder in the Kaylene Harris case and after only two hours of deliberation, the jury returned with a sentence of death. His confession to a multiple murder in Illinois may have closed a 13-year-old case for authorities there. In 1987, Elaine Dardeen, seven months pregnant at the time, and her 3 year old son, Peter, were found bludgeoned to death in their home. The shock of the attack caused Elaine to give birth. The newborn girl, who authorities believe was alive at the time, was also clubbed to death. Elaine's husband, Keith, was found dead in a nearby field, shot in the head. Sells is expected to be indicted for the Dardeen murders. He has also admitted to scores of other murders. Authorities have definitively linked him to 13 homicides, including those of Haley McHone, 13, of Lexington, Kentucky and Mary Perez, 9, of San Antonio, Texas.
(Del Rio, Texas)