Lance Herndon, the handsome black millionaire who was murdered in his bed 20 years ago in Atlanta, will be featured on the crime documentary show Nightmare Next Door. In tonight’s Investigation Discovery episode, “Sex, Money, And Murder,” a mother frantically searches the home for her missing adult son who hasn’t shown up to work. She is in for the shock of her life, when she peels back the covers and finds her son’s lifeless body in a pool of blood. Nightmare Next Door will use re-creations and first-person interviews to shape the story.
Roswell, Georgia: August 1996 — Death In The Master Suite
Lance Herndon, 41, was found dead in his bed in 1996. His mother discovered the body after he failed to show up to his job at Access Inc., a company he ran from the bottom floor of his home. The Atlanta millionaire had been bludgeoned to death with an object and left with a massive gash to the head. When detectives arrived at the scene, they tried to determine if this was a robbery gone bad. However, the items found in the bedroom didn’t add up to a home invasion. According to the Orlando Sentinel, there was no sign of forced entry, and the victim’s money, wallet, and other valuables were still in place. The only item of value that was missing was his laptop computer.
As they searched further, detectives noticed an adult film tape in the video recording device and condoms nearby. Plus, Lance Herndon was found naked. It began looking as if one of his many lovers had killed him in an anger-driven frenzy. The question was, who? Lance Herndon, who was young, black, and rich in Atlanta, could choose any woman he wanted. And authorities say he chose several beautiful lovers, which meant that the police had a slew of suspects to interview.
Playboy’s ‘Playing’ Turned Seductress Into Murderess
Eventually, police zeroed in on Dionne Baugh, aka Dionne Nelson, a light-skinned black woman from Jamaica who spoke with a heavy accent. Lance Herndon had a thing for pretty light-skinned black women, who were often called “redbone” in the black and African-American community, according to Ron Stodghill’s 2006 book Redbone: Money Malice and Murder in Atlanta, also known as Redbone: The Millionaire and the Gold Digger.
Herndon, a self-made millionaire, was taken with Dionne Baugh immediately. Not only was she beautiful, but she was also intelligent, exotic, and sexy. But authorities say that Lance underestimated how his playboy ways would affect Dionne Baugh emotionally. She had already found out that she was not his only woman, and she was due in court to answer to charges, stemming from an unannounced visit to Lance Herndon’s home while he was entertaining another lover.
After that Dionne Baugh continued having sex with Lance but no longer trusted him after he had her arrested. Police say the raw emotions came to a head on the night of the murder after Dionne Baugh went to Lance’s home, where they engaged in a night of sex. Authorities believe that while Lance was sleeping, Dionne Baugh discovered that he had no intention of going to court to have her charges thrown out. Filled with rage after giving her body to him one last time, Dionne Baugh climbed on top of him while she was still naked and began striking him with a heavy object. Then, she dressed herself and slipped out into the night.
Although there was little evidence at the crime scene, a tiny pubic hair found on Lance’s body was similar to hair belonging to Dionne Baugh, according to court records at CaseLaw. The position of the blood spatter on the ceiling indicated to detectives that Dionne was straddling Lance when she delivered the fatal blows.
Dionne Baugh was arrested and convicted in the murder of Lance Herndon. However, Dionne’s conviction was eventually thrown out, and another trial ended in a mistrial. To avoid the possibility of spending life in prison, Dionne Baugh decided to enter a guilty plea in exchange for 10 years in prison and 10 years probation. As of 2014, Dionne Baugh was still living in the state of Georgia.
Watch how Investigation Discovery dramatizes the case in Nightmare Next Door tonight at 10/9 p.m. Central. The case of Lance Herndon and Dionne Baugh, which was also profiled on TV One’s Fatal Attraction, reminds one of another sex-fueled murder involving Jodi Arias.
[Featured Image by Rob Hainer/Shutterstock]