Rick Ennis, who was convicted Thursday for the murder of Lori Ann Slesinksi, killed his mother and stepfather when he was 12 years old, according to a statement from three of his stepsisters as well as news reports from 1993.
“In March 1993, our lives were forever changed at the hands of Rick Ennis,” wrote Donna Furr, Angela Flowers and Tina Sexton, in a statement sent to media on Friday. “He brutally murdered our father, Eddie Joe Flowers, and stepmother (his mother), Linda ‘Dolly’ Flowers. Ennis was 12 years old at the time of their murders and was put into the Juvenile Justice System.”
On Thursday morning in the Lee County Justice Center in Opelika, Ennis was found guilty of capital murder burglary and capital murder kidnapping in connection to Slesinksi’s disappearance in 2006. Her body was never found. The cold case was opened in 2016, and Ennis was arrested in Virginia and charged with capital murder in 2018.
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After the verdict was read on Thursday, Lee County District Attorney Jessica Ventiere told the judge that Arlene Slesinski, Lori Ann’s mother, did not want to pursue the death penalty for Ennis.
In 1993, according to a Montgomery Advertiser story written by Greg Jaffe on June 23 of that year, Ennis admitted in court “that he killed his mother and stepfather March 3 in a north Montgomery mobile home park.”
An earlier story quoted Capt. Wyatt Gantt, a police spokesman, as saying that the mother, 40, was beaten with a baseball bat and shot with a .22-caliber rifle, and the stepfather, 39, was shot with a 16-gauge shotgun.
After killing his parents, Jaffe wrote, Ennis took his mother’s car and a .38-caliber pistol and headed toward Brantley, where his family had lived previously. He crashed the car in Montgomery County, and a state trooper found him walking along a highway. Ennis then led officers to his parents’ bodies and, police said, officers found his mother’s body “bludgeoned” with a rose set on her chest.
“The only thing he told me when I talked to him is that he loved his momma and he don’t know what happened,” a stepbrother was quoted as saying. “He just lost it.”
Because Ennis was a juvenile, his case was sealed, which means it was unknown to the public and to the jury. During his trial, a former roommate testified being alarmed by something he saw online when he Googled Ennis’ name. At that point, Judge Jacob Walker called the roommate and attorneys to the bench, and when testimony resumed, there was no mention of what he saw online.
In the 1993 article, the Flowers family lamented that Ennis could not be tried as an adult and that he would likely be released in nine years.
“Eddie Joe tried to explain that he loved Ricky and cared for him, but Ricky pushed him away,” Angela Flowers told the reporter in 1993. “He stole guns from my family and made threats, but no one took him seriously.”
In their media statement this week, the sisters pointed again to the Alabama law that a person must be at least 14 years old to be tried as an adult, and they said that Ennis was released when he was 21.
“The violence that happens in this state and across this nation has no age limit,” they wrote. “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!”
The sisters said they pray for the Slesinski family every day, and they expressed thanks for all law enforcement officials, investigators and prosecutors who pursued the cold case of Slesinski’s disappearance.
Statement from stepsisters
Here is the complete statement:
We would like to begin by sending our condolences to Lori Ann’s mom, family and friends. We pray for you daily and hope todays 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 Joe Flowers, and stepmother (his mother), Linda ‘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 in 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.
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!
- Daughters of Eddie Flowers (Donna Furr, Angela Flowers and Tina Sexton)