August 28, 2009

King guilty of murdering detective's daughter

Posted: 03:53 PM ET

SARASOTA, Florida–A Sarasota County jury has found Michael King guilty of first-degree murder, kidnapping, and sexual battery. The victim, 21-year-old Denise Lee, was missing for two days before her body was found buried in a grave in January 2008.

Michael King

Several calls to 911, including one by Lee herself were made the day she was reported missing.

Lee's family cried silently in the gallery as the verdict was read. The defendant showed no reaction. The jury panel of seven women and five men deliberated for about two hours before reaching a verdict.

King now faces the death penalty. That phase of the trial will be televised live on In Session next week.

–Nancy Leung, In Session field producer

Filed under: Uncategorized

Share this on:
Gretchen   August 28th, 2009 4:16 pm ET

Is there any reason to believe that Denise was his 1st any only victim?

My guess is that he has at least raped before.....Will we learn about his past after he is evaluated for sentencing?

Nancy Brewster   August 28th, 2009 4:16 pm ET

This was the only verdic the Jury could come to. Now, we pray they will vote the Death Penelty for his crimes. He has showed no emotions through out this trial. If he was not guilty he would have been deivstated listening to the 911 call. I even cried when I heard it.

judd   August 28th, 2009 4:22 pm ET

I believe justice has been done for danielle Lee, thank you men and women of the jury.

Bear   August 28th, 2009 4:28 pm ET

If ever we needed the death penalty, it is now. This animal deserves a slow death

Ken Martin   August 28th, 2009 4:36 pm ET

This guy did it and deserves the death penalty.

Susan   August 28th, 2009 4:36 pm ET

Thank GOD the jury got this one right. I believe they will sentence him to death!!!!

Ken Martin   August 28th, 2009 4:48 pm ET

I want to say I am sorry to the family about this terrible crime my God be with you all and provide you some comfort in your hearts. My prayers are with you all God bless you.

penguin240   August 28th, 2009 4:48 pm ET

Bravo to the jury. They had their lunch and did their duty. I hope they sentence him to death, and he doesn't convince some shrink that he's crazy.

Jay   August 28th, 2009 5:06 pm ET

Surprised it took even two hours to convict, but I guess you never know since, amazingly, on the question of the day each day, there is always a small percentage (less than 10% this week) that think differently. I would love to know what part of the population make up that small percentage each time and exactly what drugs they take.

vivian   August 28th, 2009 5:14 pm ET

Thank god justice was served. But nothing can replace Denise. I ask everyone to keep praying for the family and may god give them the strength to heal.

wayne Deja   August 28th, 2009 5:38 pm ET

Mr.King.....GUILTY.......Now,the only thing left is the penalty phase....which will be what this man deserves.....DEATH....

Doctor Know   August 28th, 2009 5:56 pm ET

Well, after being let down by the local police, the county sheriff, and the 911 operators, at least The People of Florida didn't let Denise down, and I don't believe they will in the penalty phase either. In fact, I'm sure they already know what their decision is going to be regardless of how the defense tries to make a saint out of King.

James Ward   August 28th, 2009 6:18 pm ET

I hope the jury has the courage to impose death.Denise Lee didn't get mercy so why should this scumbag.

Jennifer Dodd   August 28th, 2009 6:29 pm ET

Ashleigh – I am so happy Michael King was convicted in the first degree of all counts. He deserves to die in the same way he killed Denise Amber Lee. My heart goes out to the Goff and Lee families. I am glad they have justice in Denise's tragic death. I saw your passion in this case, and when you were on Jami's show. (which is when I first learned y'all were going off of the air Nov 17) > WHY? Why are y'all going off the air? I LOVE COURT TV. Plus, I have learned SO MUCH after watching many cases on your channel. Please, tell me this is not so. .....

ingrid   August 28th, 2009 7:09 pm ET

thank you, thank you, wonderful job!!!! That pervert deserves what he got. Bless all those involved in helping this come to a proper ending. I pray for closure for all families & friends involved.

Lynda Allard   August 28th, 2009 7:28 pm ET

There was no question as to his guilt. I'm just surprised it took two hours ro decide that, The death penalty is too lenient of a punishment for this animal. He should be kidnapped from the prison, raped, and tortured and then watch someone put a gun to his head and be shot. As a mother of two adult children, I was in emotional pain throughout this trial thinking of what we would go through, had it happened to one of them. My heart and prayers go out to the family.

Jen Bry   August 28th, 2009 7:49 pm ET

I never comment on anything. Matter of fact I never listen to audio that I know will chill me to the bone. But having a daughter the same age and having just had a knock down, drag out with her I felt compelled to acknowledge the horror this young lady endured. May You walk in peace with the Lord and I pray that your family, especially your children, find peace amid this anquish that has been bestowed upon them unneccessarily and horrifically. King, may God have mercy on your soul.

Edwin Wittmayer   August 28th, 2009 8:31 pm ET

I think the jury in this case should be commended for their work and being able to listen to the 911 tapes and put their feeling aside and judge this case on the evidence. I watched the trial coverage when able to but after listening to the tapes one time I couldn't listen to them again without being emotional.
I had a son killed about ten years ago in a violent crime and know what the loss is, but I cannot imagine the pain of listening to these tapes and to realize their was a chance to save their daughter if these calls were acted on from the beginning. I hope the 911 system in that area has been changed so these calls are taken serious and acted upon.

Samantha Marsh   August 28th, 2009 11:31 pm ET

Thank God! I have been thinking constantly about Amber Lee and her family all week. Finding him guilty is only the begining of justice. I support the death penalty and I hope Michael King gets it! I'm praying for the Lee family and her babies. I will sleep easier tonight knowing there's no chance this sicko will be out on the streets again.

sharon jessup   August 29th, 2009 6:35 am ET

Why is court tv going off the air in Nov.? I love this show and I have learned so much about our system. Michael King is the monster that walks the streets, that I have warned any female I know to be on their guard against. The death penalty is for someone like him.

Scott S diVincenzo   August 29th, 2009 6:45 am ET

Gross Negligence and UTTER Incompetence of the POLICE Dispatchers.

Each of those irresponsible employees share EQUAL responsibility
for the murder and OUGHT to be held accountable in a state prison
for numerous years with REPEATED audio files of Denise begging for
her life

a "shift change" ?

LH   August 29th, 2009 7:55 am ET

The death penalty is far too humane a punishment for the likes of King. May he rot slowly & painfully away in prison.

kyle   August 29th, 2009 9:24 am ET

perfect sentence.horrible crime.death penalty all the way. great job jurors.

kerrie   August 29th, 2009 9:29 am ET

I read that King showed up at his brother in law's house asking to borrow a shovel and a flash light. The brother in law said he heard screaming coming from the car, when he questioned King he was told it was nothing. And this was an exceptable answer to this man. He just let King leave with a shovel and a screaming woman in his car. WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE. I dont care who you are to me you show up at my house asking for a shovel and I hear screaming comeing from you car you are NOT leaving my house.

LJM   August 29th, 2009 1:51 pm ET

I was so glad that King was found guilty, and stand in hope that the death penalty stand too. I pray for her family, children, husband and father, friends. This crime has no logic to it, why her that the question I'd like to ask, why this young innocent mother. My God bless her family take the pain, give them justice.

brenda mason   August 29th, 2009 4:08 pm ET

the man needs to be put to death. its a shame the lady had to die because everyone dropped the ball while she pleaded with so many for her life. i still think some one else was involved in her murder. my heart goes out to her family.

Shirley Good   August 29th, 2009 4:41 pm ET

How sick would you have to be to do something like that?

I love to watch in session,but did Jamie Floyd say they are going off the air? Please say it isn't so!

Sandy   August 29th, 2009 7:45 pm ET

I tossed and turned last night thinking about the nightmare that this young, beautiful woman went through. It chilled me to the bone. How could one human being be so cruel to another human being? Somehow King got rid of the gun. That seems to be his one and only successful covering up this horrible crime. My heart goes out to the family and especially to the children.

Peter Ashton   August 30th, 2009 8:14 am ET

If any crime deserves the death penalty, it's this one. The defendent, Michael King, is a depraved individual and a danger to society. He should be put to death.
My thoughts and prayers are with Denise and her family.

Jerry Seckora   August 30th, 2009 11:27 am ET

Is anyone looking @ the possibilty of King being a Serail Killer? This looks like some of the other cases, or did we catch him on his first try?

Jonadani   August 31st, 2009 9:33 am ET

Once again a possible death penalty verdict for an evil and worthless herman being (not human). Unfortunately, a verdict that will not be carried out because of appeals and legal wrnagling by anti-death penalty activists. If the prisons in the US executed all those sentences that were delivered by juries, that would possibly classify as a capital stimulus for our country, saving millions for the taxpayers.

Michelle Matson   August 31st, 2009 9:36 am ET


I am, generally, not for the death penalty. After having watched this trial though, I think Michael King should die. He knew Denise had children and he didn't care that she left them alone in their home. She begged for her life over and over. He shot her in the head while she looked at the gun and left her die a horrific death. He's utterly inhumane. I don't think he deserves a life in prison. Did Denise get that choice?

Tyler Middlebrook   August 31st, 2009 10:00 am ET

Give King the death penalty!!!!!

He is a low life, piece of garbage!!!!!!

He does not even deserve 3 meals a day and a bed to sleep on in prison.

Larissa   August 31st, 2009 10:01 am ET

Mr. King in my perspective deserves the death penalty.He does not deserve to live, for he left behind 2 kids and a widower who are still grieving. But you know that the mongrel wont die for years!!!It wont be fair to the family, or the friends of Denise Lee. For they'll be feeding the man and taking care of him for decades.

This does not please anyone.

carol   August 31st, 2009 10:08 am ET

I think that no matter what is said and done, that in the end the death penalty is committing a crime, your simply doing doing the same as the perpetrator.
I realize that the family's of these victim's want to see justice with the death penalty, but in the end it can't and will not bring them back.
To me life in prison is somehow the worst sentence you can impose on someone who has committed such a foul crime, because they have to live rather then have the easy way out which would be death itself.
Carol Ohio

Levi   August 31st, 2009 10:10 am ET

I dont understand why the death penalty should be in effect anywhere. The court should realize that killing somebody convicted of murder to show them that killing is wrong is simply unethical

Jeffrey Jenkins Northern New Jersey   August 31st, 2009 10:17 am ET

I think all of our states should have the Death Penalty!!! People who can do the things thay do witch are so heinies and I am not just talking about this case. I as a tax payer and a law bidding citizen. When you have monsters out there that do such unthinkable crimes. We should put them to Death. Thank you

Alvin Washington   August 31st, 2009 10:38 am ET

First my heart goes out to Denise Lee's entire family and friends.Second let's not waste tax dollars on this creep.Drop him 20 miles off the Florida coast with a deep cut on his arm and let him see death coming at him because he is not even worth burying.

Doyle Grayling Edwards   August 31st, 2009 1:58 pm ET

King is guilty, guilty,guilty! I am from Texas where the death penalty is carried out often.If any case calls for the ultimate penalty this is one.I beleive with Dna investigation being what it is now the death penaltyshould be imposed more often.In the King case the fact that his gun was not foundwas impelling.I do not understand why the fact of the age of a person or what they do for a living has to to with the penalty in a MURDER case. In slamdunk cases of murder with no doubt the death penalty should be carried out more often and more quickly.In a lot of cases a perp will spend less time for murder than they will for robbery or shoplifting and that is surely not right.
Doyle Texas

pamela mcleod   August 31st, 2009 2:18 pm ET

I wonder how those people who screwed up in relaying the 911 call feel today knowing they could be and are truely responsible for that girl's death. It doesn't matter what field of work you are in, I've seen time and time again the irresponsibility of people who are getting paid to do their job and don't, it's just a paycheck to them. What happened to the work ethic here in this country? No matter , the end result, the woman was killed and nothing will bring her back.

Paul McWilliams   August 31st, 2009 5:34 pm ET

I can't believe this is his first offense.The Police should look at unsolved cases,and look at this guy's record.The one thing that sticks in my mind is her ring was found in his car,her hair was also found!..and to top it all off his sperm was inside of her!...He's GUILTY!

Donna Szczesny   August 31st, 2009 10:39 pm ET

I wrote my comment to Jami Floyd but I will do it again because I do feel strongly about it.
I do not believe in the death penalty. I believe that if I intentionally killed someone it would be called murder, if the state does it, it's called justice. I cannot justify one murder for another. It may be greater punishment to let him live to think about what he's done for the rest of his life.
As for the 911 operator, he or she ( I couldn't tell from the voice ), should be fired !!

Jennifer - Sebring, FL   September 1st, 2009 7:42 am ET

I do not believe Michael King should be granted "life". Head injury or not! Look at all the injuries he inflicked on beautiful Denise, did he give her a chance to live? ... The answer should be the same.

Valerie-Georgia   September 1st, 2009 1:54 pm ET

With our pacifistic judicial without parole...especially in CA does NOT mean they will remain behind bars for life. The ONLY way to insure that convicted heinous murderers do not EVER harm society ever again is by a death penalty verdict which IS enforced. I do not want my tax dollars spent keeping vicious murderers warehoused for life. Add to that, with forensics technology as advanced as it is today, it is all but impossible to convict an innocent person these days. Michael King deserves the death penalty.

Celeste from Yelm WA   September 1st, 2009 2:33 pm ET

Death row inmates have many years on death row before they are execuated, and why should we pay for the cost to keep them in jail for life, especially illegals, I think if they are not really guilty they should be found cleared before that date but yes there is some that get through. I think no matter what he or anyone else has gone thru in there life it does not justify taking the life of anyone else. I especially think the law should change for those who kill children, they should automatically get the death penality and if the parent of the child knew and did nothing to stop it they should not be able to have any other kids to hurt.

Was there any proof from a doctor or hospital that Mike actually did have a head injury and what it was?

Boyd   September 1st, 2009 3:23 pm ET

Anyone with an i.q of zero, should know the difference between right and wrong.Giving him life in prison without parole would be a burden on the taxpayers.My wife and i think he should be put to death.

pamela mcleod   September 1st, 2009 4:34 pm ET

I was watching the poll today in whether or not to put this man to death, most people voted for the death sentence, please don't forget the fact that there will be years of appeals etc. and in the mean time this man will cost tax payers lots and lots of money and if I might add live a very comfortalbe life, an example: (Scott Peterson) Yes he's on death row and making out like a bandit. Also these people will not have to struggle every day like you and I worring about paying our bills and feeding our selves they have all the luxuries and sometimes better then us on the outside. This man will have free medical, 3meals a day, and no bills because you are paying for him . There's a simple solution, put him in front of the firing squad, that will end it all.

Ken W.   September 1st, 2009 5:16 pm ET

Being pro death penalty, I am torn between the Judge sentencing this man to death, or to let him suffer in prison for the remainder of his life. I however continue to lean more towards a penalty of death. The reason for this is that because of the testimony of the psychologist, he may well be incapable of suffering.

Portland, Or.

Tricia Sellu   September 2nd, 2009 7:42 am ET

this guy is not even worth it to be imprison, he deserves a slow death-how can u be so inhuman to kill an innocent woman for ur selfish desire?

lisa nesbitt   September 2nd, 2009 8:37 am ET

Does any one know why or when King went after Denise Lee?? I may have missed that part if it was explained. Thanks.

shirley taylor amarillo tx   September 2nd, 2009 9:59 am ET

Ashleigh, too bad he did not do this in Texas we love the death penalty as people know.Denise did so much right that day and that still did not save her life.She put her children in a safe place.Made the 911 call,dna and the ring she left behind.But one thing I would like to add it's so hard to believe that the 911 operator got suspended @took her vacation time blows my mind how does she get through the day I don't know if I could go back to the job if that was I who made that mistake,and now we learn he has a so called head injury,I have a head injury I suffered 10 years ago,and I have not done 1 crime. I don't believe that hog wash ,if anyone deserves death it is him rip DENISE!!

dixie   September 2nd, 2009 10:50 am ET

i think that back in the good ole days it was a life for a life. so i think if you kill another human being then you deserve to die. because the victom didn't have a choice because he took it from her so he shouldn't have a choice either.

pamela mcleod   September 2nd, 2009 1:19 pm ET

After listening to persons talk about he had a forclosure on a house he owned and the employment of (I believe) plumbing........ How can they say is was on the brink of retardation? If this man could raise a child and have relationships he seemed to be able to funtion quite well in society.... There are many mentally handicapped people in this world, they don't go around killing innocent people, this seems to be the trend, kill someone and then scream mental problems. Come on! I agree with Denise's faather who stated he didn't buy into that, I sure alot of people don't.

capableone   September 2nd, 2009 2:27 pm ET

I am so sick and tired of people like him getting off with easy sentences with the claims of insanity. He was not so insane when he was on the stand. He spoke clearly and recounted incidents in his life with his brother and all without hesitation. Is this an insane man or someone trying to save his own neck?

This guy lead a normal life as far as I am concerned and had a family. For him to rape and kill someone then plead insanity is totally ridiculous.

He deserves to die as far as I am concerned and it should be in the electric chair. The same punishment he inflicted upon his victim is what he should receive. I hope he burns in hell.

carol   September 3rd, 2009 3:48 pm ET

I did not see this trial from the start...I wanted to know how did this man know the victim...Did he do work at her house...He looks crazy to me, How bold can you be to drive around town with her in the car....He should be excuted..

Jackie Hernandez   September 4th, 2009 1:55 pm ET

I believe that he should pay for what he did, that girl family will suffer for the rest of their live, her child will never be able to know his/or her mother and there is not excuse for a crime at all. I have a 14 year old son, who is classified as ADHD/learning disability but I always make clear to him that every human being life must be respected. lets be realistic this man knows how to manipulate the system, his previous IQ were between the 80-85s then the last one he scored 76, we can made that happen if we want people to believe that we are not able to understand, he knows and he understand the whole process. thanks

Jackie Hernandez   September 4th, 2009 2:01 pm ET

September 4th, 2009 1:55
I believe that he should pay for what he did, that girl family will suffer for the rest of their live, her child will never be able to know his/or her mother and there is not excuse for a crime at all. I have a 14 year old son, who is classified as ADHD/learning disability but I always make clear to him that every human being life must be respected. lets be realistic this man knows how to manipulate the system, his previous IQ were between the 80-85s then the last one he scored 76, we can made that happen if we want people to believe that we are not able to understand, he knows and he understand the whole process. thanks
Bronx, NY

Tony Brown   September 24th, 2009 6:40 am ET

I don't know If I said it already but ...Cool site, love the info. I do a lot of research online on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I'm glad I found your blog. Thanks, :)

A definite great read..Tony Brown

Tara   September 27th, 2009 1:33 am ET

Hopefully Denise did not die in vain. This should never, ever happen again. All 911/communication centers & officers should have special training for this type of situation. I hope I live long enough to see that bastard put to death.

Lisa   April 22nd, 2012 11:50 am ET

I just watched the story about "The Detective's Daughter" and it made me sad and I shed some tears to hear how the 911 operator/s "FAILED" to save her!!!! It is heartbreaking! I hate that monster who murdered her , I am so outraged at what he did!! I keep asking God, WHY? Good thing I will be going to church in a couple of hours because this has truly disturbed me. = (

subscribe RSS Icon
About this blog

 This is your online home for In Session on truTV’s up-to-the minute, comprehensive coverage of legal issues, trials and news from America’s courtrooms.  Our anchors, analysts and producers are teaming up here to give you updates on the stories that matter to you.

Be sure to tune in to In Session on truTV from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. ET.

On Twitter
RT @hlnmakingit: We're talking about last night's #debate and tomorrow's jobs report! Tune in to @HLNTV now
Twitter icon HLNTV 4:14 pm ET October 4, 2012 RETWEET
Now on #HLN: RT @hlnmakingit: Having fun today w our #Obama & #Romney cut-outs. Play our game 'who said that' at 4p
Twitter icon HLNTV 4:00 pm ET October 4, 2012 RETWEET
The #YellowDogProject, a sign for pets in a doggone bad mood via @LilThunderLiz @louisianabrown
Twitter icon HLNTV 3:31 pm ET October 4, 2012 RETWEET
RT @DarrenKavinoky: RT @DarrenKavinoky: Getting ready to dig into the toxicology issues in the #MillionaireDUI Case. Join us at @InSession on @truTV!
Twitter icon InSession 1:36 pm ET October 4, 2012 RETWEET
Philadelphia top cop says he plans to fire officer who struck parade-goer. READ MORE:
Twitter icon InSession 1:27 pm ET October 4, 2012 RETWEET
Contact us