Terrence Darnell Lee
Photo: Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office
Photo: Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office

Cop: Gwinnett murder suspect followed victims home from QT

Terrence Darnell Lee chose his victims while sitting in a car at the QuikTrip on Centerville Highway in Snellville at least three times, a Gwinnett County detective testified Thursday.

One of those victims, 27-year-old Kemar Hawkins, ended up dead after Lee allegedly shot him during an Aug. 2 home invasion. 

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Lee is charged with 46 different criminal counts in Gwinnett County, according to jail records: one count of felony murder, 11 counts of aggravated assault, 11 counts of false imprisonment, 12 counts of armed robbery, seven weapons charges and a felony probation violation charge.

Lee faced a hearing on 20 of these charges Thursday; the murder charge had been addressed in an August hearing. The Thursday hearing was to establish whether there was probable cause for the case to move forward.

At the hearing, Detective Michael Poppe said that Lee followed a group of men home from the Centerville Highway QuikTrip after 3 a.m. on May 6. Six men were hanging out in a bedroom on Hidden Bluff Way when Lee walked in, holding a gun, Poppe said. Lee threatened to shoot them if they looked at him, according to Poppe. When one man looked at Lee, the suspect made him stand up and held a gun to his head before forcing him back to the ground, Poppe said.

Lee forced the men to hand over money, phones and other items, fired a shot and left. The gunshot did not hit anybody.

When Poppe got the case, he suspected the men may have been followed from another location because the home invasion occurred so late at night. The men told him that they had gone to QuikTrip about 30 minutes before the incident. When Poppe reviewed security footage, he saw a silver Chevrolet Malibu arrive at the gas station and park at a pump before following the men. Lee’s mother had rented a silver Malibu during the time of the home invasion, Poppe said.

27 Year old Kemar Hawkins was shot and killed in his home in Gwinnett county.

In two other cases, one in late July and the Aug. 2 home invasion during which Kemar Hawkins was fatally shot, Poppe saw vehicles tied to Lee arrive at the QT and park at a pump before also following those victims.

Lee’s attorney David Whitman asked for the charges addressed in Thursday’s hearing to be dismissed, saying the evidence was not strong enough. Gwinnett County Magistrate Judge Bob Mitchum denied the request to dismiss, finding probable cause to have the charges proceed. 

Lee is being held without bond at the Gwinnett County Detention Center. The issue of bond will be addressed at a later date by the Gwinnett County Superior Court.

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In other news:

The family is currently living in a hotel room.

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