With a particular focus on the human aspects, ID’s ‘Evil Lives Here: Shadows Of Death’ delves deep into those real-life cases that can only be described as equal parts horrific and heartbreaking. Thus, one of its episodes, titled ‘The Only Witness,’ chronicling the double homicide of minors Latara and Tramar Chandler, along with a related brutal assault, is no different. So now, if you wish to learn all the details concerning the same, including the victims’ background, the assailant’s penalty, and its aftermath, don’t worry; we’ve got you covered.
How Did Latara and Tramar Chandler Die?
The tale of Latara and Tramar actually begins with that of their mother, Judith “Judy” Chandler, who’d relocated from Minneapolis to Omaha with them in the hopes of a better life in early 2000. As a single yet devoted mother of three, she’d felt as if her aspiring model/ministry worker daughter and her curious, ever-smiling son would be okay no matter what came their way, but it wasn’t the case. While Judy’s eldest daughter Starsha thankfully survived since she wasn’t even with the brood in Nebraska late that year, it didn’t make the actual loss any less painful.
On November 12, 2000, the police responded to a 911 call about a woman lying on the railroad tracks near 16th and Grace Streets, only to find 36-year-old Judy fighting for her life. She’d essentially been left to die after being severely beaten, with her head bashed into the metal rails. However, somehow Judy was conscious and instantly rushed to the nearest hospital, where she was placed into a coma owing to her severe injuries. The officials learned she had two children at home, which was right around the corner from the original crime scene.
Unfortunately, by the time detectives arrived at her apartment, it was already too late — all they discovered were the cold remains of the kids as well as a myriad of evidence. At the residence, 13-year-old Latara was found in a strange position in a bedroom, naked from the waist down, whereas her 7-year-old brother Tramar was in a similar position in the bathtub. According to their formal autopsy reports, the two were strangled for at least four minutes each, but the difference was that while Tramar was also drowned, Latara had been sexually assaulted.
Who Killed Latara and Tramar Chandler?
With Judy Chandler having indicated she knew her assailant before the medical treatment took over, the investigators immediately focused on touching base with her entire social circle. They subsequently learned Judy had recently been dating a man named Lee. However, no one even positively knew what he looked like, let alone his last name, profession, or whereabouts. The authorities recovered a cigarette butt and a shoe print as evidence from the rail lines as well as DNA from a used condom and a soiled towel from Judy’s home, but no lead the authorities uncovered themselves proved to be a concrete match either.
Therefore, only once Judy regained consciousness two months later and began remembering things in brief flickers a month after that did the matter really move forward. She couldn’t recall Lee’s last name either, but because Judy genuinely wanted to help for the sake of her babies, her grief, and her recovery, she told officials she’d helped him (and another man) rob a car dealership a month prior to the incident. She was afraid to do so, of course, yet her admittance soon after her remembrance led to the identification of Lee Gales, whose DNA matched every piece of the evidence as well.
Is Lee Gales Dead or Alive?
Arthur Lee Gales Jr. was found guilty on two counts of first-degree murder in connection with Latara and Tramar Chandler’s deaths and one count of attempted second-degree murder in connection with Judy Chandler’s case back in the early 2000s. He was sentenced to death, plus an additional 50 years for the lesser charge, with the theory being that he hoped to kill Judy and both her children to avoid identification in the robbery case forever. With that said, the 55-year-old passed away from natural causes while on death row at the medium/maximum-security Tecumseh State Prison on April 3, 2021.
Where is Judy Chandler Now?
Judith “Judy” Chandler suffered from not just undeniable grief but also severe brain damage from the beating she endured, which meant years of psychotherapy and physiotherapy before she could even start feeling better. As per the ID episode, Judy lives with a disability but seems determined not to let her headaches, partial amnesia, or walking issues affect more of her life.
Judy’s only regret is that she ever let Lee into her home/life since that’s what led him to her precious young children, and it’s an aspect she continues to grapple with (even though she is not to blame). As for her current whereabouts, it appears as if the Midwestern region resident prefers to keep her personal experiences well away from the spotlight these days. We should also mention that considering everything Judy went through, she was never charged with the robbery.