MOSCOW, Idaho – A man who killed three people, including his mother, and wounded another in a shooting spree in 2015 will spend the rest of his life in prison.
John Lee, 30, was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday by Judge John R. Stegner in Latah County 2nd District Court.
Lee received three life sentences for first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of his adoptive mother, Terri L. Grzebielski, 61; his landlord, David M. Trail, 76; and restaurant manager Belinda G. Niebuhr, 47.
Lee received a sentence of 15 years for aggravated assault for shooting Michael M.M. Chin, 40, of Seattle.
In March, Lee told the court he was experiencing paranoid thoughts and voices at the time of the shootings.
Lee declined to comment during the sentencing hearing. Prosecutors called him a “ticking time bomb” who remained a danger to society.
Lee initially pleaded innocent to all charges stemming from the Jan. 10, 2015, shooting spree.
According to court documents, Trail and Chin were meeting that afternoon in Trail’s office, located in an apartment building where Lee lived. Lee entered the office and shot both Trail and Chin.
Lee then drove his car to the Arby’s restaurant in Moscow, where he asked for Niebuhr. She appeared and Lee shot her as she tried to escape through the drive-thru window, according to court records.
Lee then went to his parents’ house, where he shot his mother before fleeing in his car toward Pullman.
A Pullman police officer spotted Lee, who led law officers on a high-speed chase on U.S. Highway 195 that ended when his car ran off the road outside Steptoe. The 24-mile police chase topped 100 mph, at times in dense fog.
In March, Lee entered Alford pleas to the charges. By entering Alford pleas, Lee did not admit guilt, but he acknowledged there was enough evidence to convict him of each charge. He entered the pleas as part of an agreement that spared him from the death penalty.
Lee is a 2004 graduate of Moscow High School and had no prior criminal history in Idaho.
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