OPELIKA, Ala. (WRBL) – An Alabama family said the man convicted in the capital murder of Auburn University graduate Lori Ann Slesinski in 2006 also killed his mother and stepfather back in 1993 in north Montgomery.
Records in the deaths of Derrill Richard Ennis ’ mother Dolly Flowers and stepfather Eddie Flowers are sealed since they were juvenile records. Lee County District Attorney Jessica Ventiere declined to comment on Ennis’ past criminal history stating she did not think she was allowed to under the law.
Donna Furr, Angela Flowers, and Tina Sexton are the daughters of Eddie Flowers. The sisters waited to speak publicly about what Derrill Richard Ennis did as a 12-year-old until a verdict and sentencing were handed down in the Slesinski case.
Now, the daughters are urging Alabama lawmakers to reconsider how juvenile murder cases are handled.
“Many people believe that children do not commit crimes such as murder, but we know that is not true,” a statement from the family said. “The daughters said in a statement. The violence that happens in this state and across this nation has no age limit. The courts shouldn’t be bound by a state law that says children less than 14 can’t be tried as adults. This case is living proof.”
There were newspaper articles that written about the case in 1993. Ennis’ defense team said they had no knowledge of the deaths.
Ennis was sentenced on Thursday inside a Lee County courtroom to spend the rest of his life behind bars without the possibility of parole for capital murder during a kidnapping and burglary of Lori Ann Slesinski. The sentencing comes as District Attorney Ventiere informed the judge Slesinkski’s mother decided the best option for her family is to not seek the death penalty and the lengthy appeals process associated with it.
Thursday, a Lee County jury found Ennis guilty in the slaying of the 24-year-old Auburn graduate who worked at East Alabama Mental Health. Under the law, jurors are not allowed to know about a defendants previous alleged crimes or convictions.
Prosecutors said Ennis was romantically obsessed with Slesinski and killed her when she refused to be more than friends. Investigators say Ennis was always a suspect, but an indictment didn’t happen in the case until 2018 after a cold case unit spent 18-months reviewing the 2006 murder. Slesinski’s body has never been found.
Forensic investigators testified the defendant’s semen and presumptive blood were inside Slesinski’s mobile home. Investigators located a phone, missing its long chord, in her bedroom. A rolled cigarette with Ennis’ DNA was found near Slesinski’s burned vehicle.
Ennis was the last person known to be with Slesinski when she was alive. When Ennis was questioned after Lori Ann vanished detectives took pictures of fresh scratches on his arms and hands. Prosecutors said located in his car was “a murderer’s tool kit” with cleaning supplies, a knife, and handcuffs.
Ennis testified in his own defense, saying he was good friends with Lori and they had consensual sex. He denied killing her and said the scratches came from his dog.
His defense team claims investigators bungled evidence in the case and can not prove beyond a reasonable doubt Ennis is the killer.
“We know Rick and we know he is innocent and he has our unconditional support,” said a note to reporters from supporters who gathered in the courtroom during the trial, verdict and sentencing.
Ennis plans on appealing.
Meanwhile, Arlene Slesinski said she waited 16 years for the man she knew killed her daughter to be held accountable for ending her life at just 24 years old.
Thursday, her mother says Lori Ann, along with her brother who died of cancer, and her father who died of COVID are celebrating justice in Heaven with Lori’s beloved dog Peanut.
Flowers’ daughters released the following statement to WRBL News 3:
“We would like to begin by sending our condolences to Lori Ann’s mom, family, and friends. We pray for you daily and hope today’s verdict will bring you some form of peace and closure. We want to thank the members of the Auburn Police Department, Lee County Sheriff Department, State Bureau of Investigation and its Cold Case Unit, US Marshalls, and all other agencies that were involved for the countless hours of work you put into this case. Without your hard work, Derrill Richard “Rick” Ennis, would still be walking the streets living his life as if nothing happened with the potential to take other lives. In March 1993, our lives were forever changed at the hands of Rick Ennis. He brutally murdered our father, Eddie Flowers, and stepmother (his mother), Dolly Flowers. Ennis was 12 years old at the time of their murders and was put into the Juvenile Justice System. By Alabama law, you must be at least 14 years old to be tried as an adult. As a result of this law, Ennis was released from the juvenile system when he turned 21 years old, only serving less than 9 years behind bars. During his time as a juvenile, Ennis escaped twice, and no other charges were brought against him. Many people believe that children do not commit crimes such as murder, but we know that is not true. The violence that happens in this state and across this nation has no age limit. The courts shouldn’t be bound by a state law that says children less than 14 can’t be tried as adults. This case is living proof. If Ennis would have received the punishment he deserved when he murdered 2 people at 12 years old, Lori Ann wouldn’t have lost her life at the hands of this evil person. The State of Alabama must change their laws! We have missed our daddy for 29 long years. He hasn’t been there for graduations, marriages, grandchildren and great grandchildren being born and the joy of watching them grow, loving and spoiling them, fishing trips, holidays, family gatherings, and the list could go on. So, today when Rick Ennis was found guilty on the charges of Capital Murder Burglary and Capital Murder Kidnapping and sentenced to Life Without the Possibility of Parole, our family could breathe a sigh of relief and know that justice has finally been served!”Donna Furr, Angela Flowers, and Tina Sexton
Daughters of Eddie Flowers