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Denise Lee's Murderer Convicted, But Mishandled 911 Calls Still Controversial

By September 3, 2009

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The Florida man who kidnapped, raped and murdered a 21-year-old mother of two is going to jail.

But outrage still surrounds the case of Denise Lee, whose frantic call to 911 was somehow mishandled by the call center's operators. Two operators allegedly did not pass along important information to officers on duty at the Charlotte County Sherriff's Department that might have prevented Lee's death.

Lee, the daughter of a Charlotte County sheriff's detective, was kidnapped from her North Port, FL home shortly after 2 pm on January 17, 2008. She banged on the windows of her abductor's green Camaro, attracting the attention of several eyewitnesses who called 911; Lee herself also called 911 from a cell phone and pleaded for help. Her body was found two days later.

Although defense attorneys attempted to block jurors from hearing the 911 calls, two were played in the courtroom and helped convict Michael King, the 38-year-old plumber who was a stranger to Lee. The jury's verdict was handed down last Friday.

Since her death, Denise Lee's husband Nathan has established a foundation in her name to push for 911 reform. According to a family spokesperson, he is expected to file a lawsuit claiming that the 911 call centerís mishandling of the emergency calls contributed to his wifeís death

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