The Lance Herndon, Dionne Baugh story was a true Fatal Attraction, sometimes referred to as the “Millionaire Murder Case.” It was based on the murder of Atlanta playboy Lance Herndon, a handsome black Gatsby-esque millionaire businessman in Atlanta whose naked body was found bludgeoned in his bed. The killer was Jamaican scorned lover and Marta executive assistant Dionne Baugh, also known as Dionne Andrea Baugh and Dionne Nelson.
Dionne Baugh: Scorned Lover Trial
I remember the day that I turned on Court TV and watched a slew of beautiful black women take the stand. All of them had dated the Access Inc. computer consultant and entrepreneur at one time or another, and some were part of the harem of women he slept with at the same time! I got the chance to talk about the case on television for the first time when a producer from TV One’s Fatal Attraction contacted me. The show was shot in Atlanta, Georgia in 2014. It was my first time appearing on a national television show. Below you’ll find a timeline of the Lance Herndon murder case.
Black Millionaire: Lance Herndon Timeline
1955: Lance Herndon is born in Harlem, New York. His mother, Jackie, works in retail and his father, Russell Harrison Herndon, works odd jobs, though he mostly likes boozing it up with many women in local bars. As a small child, Lance Herndon is cared for by babysitters. As he grows older, he’s a latch key kid, but he learns to take care of himself and follow his mother’s strict rules. Jackie Herndon often leaves her son detailed notes. These notes will help shape Lance into a sophisticated and organized businessman. He also learns to detach from women.
1960s-1970s: Cute and ambitious, Lance Herndon excels in elementary school and in high school. By the time he graduates, he has already developed a love for computers and technology. And talk about being a quick study, Lance Herndon earns a degree in computer science and works for a few tech companies, where he soaks up knowledge of the computer industry so well that he becomes his bosses fiercest competitor.
1980s: Lance Herndon has a few marriages. His first wife is Puerto Rican. His second wife is a Creole woman from New Orleans. The third wife is a pretty brown woman named Jeannine, a flight attendant, who ends up giving him a son. The newlywed couple settles into a beautiful mansion in the quiet suburbs of Roswell, a step or two away from the busy city of Atlanta.
Jeannine is happy. She has her man, her son, her mansion, and her millions. But she doesn’t have Lance’s heart and commitment. Being a family man doesn’t suit him. He tries, but can’t stop the affairs with other women. He’s mildly cruel with a cutthroat business side to him. And women are nothing more than sexual pleasure. They needn’t think they are anything more than that or they’ll have their feelings hurt quickly.
1990s: According to a book written about the case, Lance Herndon even deals some emotional blows to his wife by often telling her that she should be glad he is interested in a woman of her dark complexion since most of the women he’s attracted to are light-skinned.
Deeply hurt, Jeannine Herndon does everything to please her husband. She changes her hair. She changes her clothes. She tries to be sexier. But nothing works. Finally, she packs her bags and leaves after finding nude pictures of Lance Herndon’s newest toy, a beauty named Talana Carroway (Talana Carraway).
After his divorce, Lance falls for Kathy Collins, a woman with light skin and long silky hair. To some, she looks almost white. She’s his prime lady. Often dressed in his black tuxedo, Lance Herndon takes her to splashy parties. And she’s the only woman he allows to stay in his home. Lance’s mother knows Kathy is all about the money and doesn’t love her son. In fact, she can’t stand any of Lance’s new girlfriends.
Lance Herndon is making a name for himself around town. His business savviness captures the attention of a few prestigious men: the mayor, President Bush, and President Clinton. The business seems to be doing well, but Lance has a secret. He is pocket poor and is using lines of credit to sustain his larger than life image. The truth is—his financial world is falling around him, and he can’t get rid of a pesky woman who refuses to allow him to throw her away like the others.
Nutty Baugh: The Wrong Woman
May 1996: 41-year-old Lance Herndon has a thirst for the finer things in life, and just as he’s in the middle of his career and enjoying complete bachelorhood, the debonair gentleman meets the sultry but deadly Dionne Baugh, a light-skinned Jamaican woman who turns his world upside down. Dionne Baugh is at Lance’s moonlit party on the rooftop of one of Atlanta’s swankiest hotels, using an invitation that was meant for her boss. The executive assistant prowls the party like a cougar on the hunt for new flesh. Lance Herndon is the target.
After meeting Dionne Baugh, he is impressed by her charm and her Jamaican accent. She’s perfectly daring and exotic. And her sensual way with him hooks Lance Herndon from the beginning. No one has ever pleased him in the bedroom the way she does. Dionne Baugh excites him so much that he talks about her to everyone in his intimate circle almost immediately. Lance doesn’t know it, but there is a steep price to pay to have Dionne Baugh tangled in his bed sheets.
August: By now, Lance is learning that Dionne is nothing she appears to be. Dionne Baugh has a husband, Shaun Nelson, who is a pilot for Jamaica Air, and a daughter named Amanda. Dionne Baugh is calling Lance Herndon incessantly. She even appears at his home unannounced. He can’t take it any longer. One late night, she finds Lance at home with Kathy and pounds on the door, screaming for Lance to open it. Pretending he doesn’t know her, Lance calls the cops and has Dionne thrown in the slammer for the evening.
Instead of letting the police handle it, Lance Herndon makes another mistake. He bails Dionne Baugh out of jail and promises to have the charge taken off her record. This arrest could ruin Dionne Baugh’s entire career. She is desperate for his help, and her emotions are out of whack.
But Dionne Baugh doesn’t understand. Lance doesn’t want to hurt her. He just wants her to go away. Yet, he is still sleeping with her. Lance’s “stay and go”—“push and pull” behavior is both enticing and confusing to Dionne. It’s a deadly elixir for an unstable lovesick woman with fragile emotions.
True Crime: When Passion Leads to Murder
On an early summer morning in 1996, Lance Herndon is found dead in his bed by his mother. He’s lying on his back with his arms crossed over his chest like a prince. He is nude, and he has a large gash to the head. Police see no signs of forced entry. From the position of the body and the lube on the dresser, investigators determine that Lance Herndon let his killer inside, and she climbed on top of him with her naked body and bludgeoned him to death in a jealous rage after they had made love.
Days later, relatives and friends arrive at the prestigious Moorehouse College for the fallen Atlanta millionaire’s funeral. Ex-wife, Jeannine Herndon, and their son are in attendance. Shortly after, Jeannine takes over what is left of Access Inc.
January 1998: After Jazz Williams, a former business associate and several past former lovers are crossed off the suspect’s list, Roswell authorities place Dionne Nelson, aka Dionne Baugh, under arrest and charge her with fraud, theft, and the death of Lance Herndon. Dionne Baugh bonds out of jail and enters a plea of not guilty at the next hearing.
April 2001: At the trial, Dionne Baugh looks frail and pale. The dainty woman sits without emotion throughout most of the trial. She is found guilty of Lance Herndon’s death. The defense attempts to have her conviction thrown out.
A Stroke of Luck for Dionne Baugh
2003: The Supreme Court tosses out Dionne Baugh’s conviction. Pitbull prosecutor Clint Rucker refuses to let Dionne Andrea Baugh get away with murder. He drags her back into court. But by November, the judge declares a mistrial.
2004: Prosecutors aren’t through. Dionne Baugh is back in court. To avoid a third trial, she agrees to admit to manslaughter in a plea deal, which lands her in prison for ten years.
2006: A book about the Lance Herndon and Dionne Baugh murder case, Redbone: Money, Malice, and Murder in Atlanta, also known by the title, Redbone: The Millionaire and the Gold Digger, is published.
2011: After serving her time in a Georgia State correctional facility, Dionne Baugh walks out of prison. She spends the next decade on probation and disappears from public view.
2019: Where is Dionne Baugh Now?
The black millionaire murder case is an intriguing story. Many people wonder where Dionne Baugh is today. While researching the case in 2014, I was told that Dionne stayed in Georgia when she was released from prison. One person also suggested she was in Florida at one time. They said she keeps a very low profile and doesn’t want to be back in the news.
Side Notes and UPDATES 2019
- When I shot the new documentary for BET television in Los Angles in 2019, I was told Dionne Baugh was back in Jamaica because she was most likely deported due to an issue with her immigration papers. However, another person suggested that Dionne became an American citizen, so they don’t understand how she could be deported for a crime she committed after she was granted citizenship. Public records still have her listed as Dionne Andrea Baugh Nelson and living in Marietta, Georgia with previous addresses in Smyrna, Georgia, Miami, Florida, Norcross, Georgia, and Atlanta, Georgia. —-The best answer is no one is sure.
- Lacey Banks, one of Lance’s lovers, is the name used in many crime show documentaries. Public records show Lacey Banks is Talana Carroway, aka Talana Carraway. She worked as an administrative assistant for many years. She has a different last name now and appears to be working as a teacher.
- Lance Herndon’s son, Harrison Herndon, is now a handsome businessman and has his father’s smile.
- Shaun Nelson, Dionne’s first husband, is remarried with children. He is still a pilot and lives in Florida.
- Amanda Nelson (Manda), Dionne’s daughter, is all grown up. She is built exactly like Dionne and has her mother’s skin complexion and long brownish-reddish hair. It looks like she is studying medicine.
- BET Television features the Dionne Baugh, Lance Herndon murder case in a new true crime documentary. (Go Here)
Court Record: (Baugh vs. State)
Orlando Sentinel (ATLANTA BUSINESSMAN FOUND SLAIN OUTSIDE MANSION)
Book: (Redbone: The Millionaire and the Gold Digger)
[Main image via files of Traciy Curry-Reyes]