March 20, 1998 in City

Jury Convicts Girl In Death Of Parents

Associated Press
 
Tags:verdict

Starr Lake, described by prosecutors as a scheming seductress who manipulated her boyfriend into shooting her adoptive parents, was convicted Thursday of participating in their slayings.

The Garfield County Superior Court jury deliberated for about eight hours over two days before finding 16-year-old Lake guilty of two counts of second-degree murder.

The College Place, Wash., girl cried “No!” and slumped in her chair as the verdicts were read. She sobbed as she was led out of the courtroom.

Defense lawyer Michael de Grasse said he would consider an appeal.

The weeklong trial was the second for Lake in the July 24, 1997, murders of her adoptive parents, who also were her grandparents. A trial in Kennewick ended in a deadlock in January.

Lester Leroy Lake, 66, and Velma Jean Lake, 64, were shot to death in their bed.

Lake’s then-boyfriend, 17-year-old Michael Jansen, admitted killing the couple and pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder. He was sentenced late last month to more than 27 years in prison.

Lake, who denied involvement in the killings, told investigators she was sleeping in the basement of her parents’ home when she was awakened by the sound of gunshots. She said she passed out and later went upstairs to find their bodies.

Walla Walla County prosecutors Jim Nagle and Joe Golden contend Lake used sexual favors to manipulate Jansen into killing her parents so she could to be free from their control and inherit their estate.

Prosecutors said she fabricated the story about blacking out to give Jansen more time to get home after the murders.

De Grasse argued that Lake had been framed by Jansen.

© Copyright 1998 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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