Police: Man who found woman's body in 1988 arrested for murdering her

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Donald Lee Scott (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Donald Lee Scott (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
Donald Lee Scott (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Donald Lee Scott (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
Donald L. Scott (Source: Arizona Department of Corrections) Donald L. Scott (Source: Arizona Department of Corrections)

Police have arrested a man who found a woman’s body in the desert nearly 30 years ago, saying DNA evidence leads them to believe he is the one who killed her.

Donald Lee Scott, 55, is facing charges of first-degree murder and sexual assault, the latest in a long list of offenses he has racked up over the years. Police said “multiple ex-girlfriends” have accused him of stalking and harassment, even going so far as to obtain orders of protection against him. In Scott's court documents, the arresting officer described Scott as a “serial offender of stalking and harassing.”

The probable cause for arrest statement outlines the case against Scott, which dates back to Dec. 10, 1988, when he and another person found a woman’s body while driving in the desert southwest of 99th Avenue and the Carefree Highway.

Investigators determined that the victim, later identified as Anne Marie Levee, had been shot to death recently. Evidence also indicated she had been sexually assaulted.

Detectives followed up every lead but did not get far in their investigation, learning only that Levee was last seen with a white man with brown hair and a mustache in a maroon car.

The case sat dormant until 2003 when the biological evidence collected years earlier was sent to the Department of Public Safety crime lab for DNA testing. Those samples were entered into the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System, also known as CODIS.

More than a decade would pass before investigators got a hit.

“In December 2016, a report was generated by the Arizona Department of Public Safety laboratory that the unknown sample entered into CODIS in 2003 now had a DNA match,” according to court documents. “This match was reported to belong to Donald Lee Scott….”

Knowing he was one who found Levee’s body, police took a look at Scott and discovered “an extensive criminal history of arrests for weapons, stalking, assault, harassment and attempted sexual assault.”

Scott was convicted of aggravated harassment in 2014 and served a short time (less than 10 days) in prison. That’s when his DNA was taken and entered into CODIS. Scott's Arizona Department of Corrections record shows previous time served in 1989 and 1999 for endangerment and harassment respectively.

[PHOTO: Donald Lee Scott's ADOC photo]

After the CODIS match popped up, detectives took a “known DNA sample” from Scott. The DPS lab confirmed last month that Scott’s new DNA matched the sample recovered from Levee’s body in 1988.

Investigators questioned Scott, who said he had not had any physical contact with Levee before he found her body on that December day nearly three decades ago.

Police said Scott, who would have been 26 when he found Levee, “repeatedly denied ever knowing the victim … and denies raping or killing the victim…”

What he has not been able to do, according to police, is explain the presence of his DNA inside Levee.

According to court paperwork, Scott said he never even got close enough to Levee to see her injuries. Police spoke to the person who was with Scott that day. According to court paperwork, that person, who has not been identified, told investigators that Scott had seen the injuries on Levee’s face and chest.

A judge set a cash-only bond of $1 million for Scott. 

TIMELINE (based on court paperwork and ADOC records)

Dec. 10, 1988 -- Donald Lee Scott and an unidentified person discover Anne Marie Levee's body in the desert

2003 -- Levee's case is reexamined; DNA evidence tested and resulting profile uploaded to CODIS

2014 -- Lee convicted of aggravated harassment 

March 9, 2016 -- Scott is admitted into ADOC system on 2014 conviction

March 17, 2016 -- Scott is released from prison

December 2016 -- DPS reports match between Scott's DNA submitted to CODIS after his last conviction and DNA submitted in Levee case in 2003

January 2018 -- DPS lab confirms Scott's known DNA sample matches evidence collected from Levee's body in 1988

Feb. 2, 2018 -- Police arrest Scott on suspicion of murder and assault in Levee's death

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