MISHAWAKA -- A Mishawaka man is charged with the murder of his estranged wife, but police still haven't found her body.
Police say 49-year old Tarrance Lee killed Trina Winston because she cheated on him and was leaving him.
Police say Winston told them that Lee had abused her. However, she did not want to prosecute, and then began seeing him again. Therefore no charges were filed.
In March of 2012 Lee told Winston’s father he was going to kill Winston because she left him.
Winston filed for divorce from Lee in June.
Court documents show Lee asked three friends to come to his apartment located at the Hickory Village Complex in Mishawaka because he had a body in his living room and he needed to dispose of it.
South Bend police officer Anthony Bontrager says the men went to Lee's apartment and saw Winston's body.
One of the men refused to help him and called police.
But court documents show the others helped put her body in the trunk of a car which Lee then drove somewhere outside of St. Joseph County.
This is the fourth time Lee has been accused of being involved in a murder.
Lee is a convicted killer and spent over 20 years in prison for his role in the murder of two people in South Bend in 1986.
Lee, then 22 years old, was accused and convicted of the drug-related murders of two people on Corby Boulvard in South Bend...and attempted murder of a third person.
He appealed the verdicts, but his conviction was upheld in 1988.
He was originally sentenced to 150 years for those crimes but according to court documents obtained by WSBT Lee asked for a modification of his sentence.
And in March of 2003, St. Joseph County Judge William Albright and Prosecutor Mike Dvorak's office agreed to grant Lee's request. The court found Lee had demonstrated "good behavior" in prison and completed numerous educational programs while incarcerated. Lee also assisted Dvorak's office by testifying in other cases. In fact, court records show Lee was transported from prison back to St. Joseph County to be a witness in a 2003 case.
While in the St. Joseph County Jail, WSBT learned Lee enrolled in a self-awareness class held at the jail based on the Stephen Covey book, "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People." Our partners at the South Bend Tribune report Lee was taking the course to try to earn a doctorate in Theology and that he described the program as a life-changing experience.
Lee sentence was reduced to 40-years for each count, to be served concurrently, instead of consecutively. That reduction allowed Lee to get out of prison in 2006, where he entered a work release program in South Bend.
Following his sentence modification, Lee again repeatedly asked the judge to reduce his sentence further.
WSBT News obtained three hand-written letters from Lee requesting he be let out for "time-served," and to enter a community corrections program.
In one court petition filed in June of 2003, Lee wrote he has, "prepared himself to assist in stopping the serious problems of the desolate youth in the communities."
Another letter dated, September 19, 2004, Lee stated he earned his bachelor's degree and was accepted into the "God Cares Ministry Aftercare Program."
And another, on November 22, 2005, Lee wrote, "I have nothing else to accomplish here in prison. The only thing left for me to do is prepare for society."
On July, 17, 2006 Lee was transferred from Miami Correctional Facility to a South Bend Work Release Program. He was paroled in Febuary of 2007 and then released from parole supervision a year later, according to Amy Lanum with the Indiana Department of Corrections.
But in 2010 Lee found himself in trouble again. He was charged with driving a semi and running a red light in Hamilton County, Indiana, near Indianapolis, crashing into a van killing the driver and injuring two others.
While Lee was originally arrested for recklessness with a motor vehicle causing death, those charges were dropped. He pled guilty to minor infractions, including refusing a breathalyzer at the time of the accident. Lee paid court costs and fines in that case.
Now Lee is back behind bars in St. Joseph County facing murder charges again.
Police say Lee and two friends drove outside of St. Joseph County and disposed of Trina Winston's body. Investigator have been searching in Illinois, but at this time, her body has not been found. Winston's family say they normally talked with her daily, but have not heard from her since last Tuesday.
Concerned neighbors near where the crime happened on Saturday are hoping this time Lee won't get out of jail.
"They need to do something and get these people off the streets that commit these crimes and stuff. It's just not right," says Gary Pridemore.
Court records show Lee's criminal past actually started in 1984 when he was charged with pointing a gun at a woman during a domestic dispute. Lee was ordered to attend Family Violence Counseling and Education sessions. In '85 he pleaded guilty to theft for stealing a woman's purse at the Scottsdale Mall.