William Lembcke signed letter photo envelope

William Lembcke signed letter photo envelope

65.00

A teenager convicted of killing four members of his family was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

William Lembcke, 16, was convicted  of four counts of aggravated first-degree murder in the Christmas-week shooting deaths of his parents, his 18-year-old sister and his 11-year-old brother. Jurors deliberated less than two hours.

Stevens County Superior Court Judge Larry Kristianson called Lembcke "a monster" as he handed down the sentence. The only penalties for aggravated murder are life in prison without parole or execution, but state law does not allow execution of people under 18.

 

Kristianson also assessed Lembcke more than $15,500 in lawyer fees and court costs.

 

The bodies of Robert and Diana Lembcke and their children, Jolene and Wesley, were found dumped along a rural road days after the shooting at the family home in Addy, about 60 miles north of Spokane. Lembcke admitted to sexually molesting his sister's body, police testified.

At the courthouse yesterday, family members -- including the defendant's only surviving sibling, 24-year-old Clinton Lembcke, who was not at home when the shootings occurred Dec. 23 -- broke down in tears when the verdict was read.

 

Lembcke showed little emotion during most of the proceedings.

 

But he sobbed openly during the sentencing process when an aunt, Pamela Ham of Vancouver, Wash., told him -- and the court -- that he'd had a loving mother and hard-working father and didn't know what he'd given up.

Family members would not talk with reporters afterward.

 

 

 

 

Deputy Stevens County Prosecutor David Bruneau called the verdict and sentence gratifying. He criticized defense attempts to portray Lembcke as mentally ill.

 

"When you have a defendant whose back's against the wall, it's not unusual for them to resort to this sort of defense," he told reporters. "You just hope the jury has the sense to see it for what it really is, and that is a bunch of rubbish."

 

Defense lawyer Patty St. Clair said it is a tragedy to send a juvenile into the adult prison system.

 

She said Lembcke wanted his family to know that he was sorry, and added that he has been emotionally distraught every time she has visited him in jail.

 

The defense sought conviction on the lesser charge of second-degree murder, arguing that Lembcke suffered diminished mental capacity at the time of the murders.

 

Kristianson turned the case over to jurors at 11:05 a.m. They returned the verdict at 1:09 p.m. The panel was selected in Okanogan County because of concerns about pretrial publicity.

 

In closing arguments, Bruneau characterized the teen as a selfish, coldblooded killer who spent the days after the attack partying with friends.

 

Defense lawyer Paul Wasson urged conviction on the lesser charge of second-degree murder, saying Lembcke was a troubled teen from a dysfunctional family.

 

Wasson relied heavily on testimony from the key defense witness, psychiatrist Dr. Alan Unis, who said the boy suffered from diminished mental capacity at the time of the killings. He attributed the teen's mental state to a traumatic childhood.

 

Bruneau said Lembcke's actions showed premeditation -- loading a semiautomatic rifle and lying in wait while his father showered and retrieving a different weapon to finish off his mother, who was confined to a wheelchair by multiple sclerosis.

 

Laying out pictures of the victims when they were alive, the prosecutor said: "They just got in his way.

 

"He may be remorseful now because he's here facing justice, but we're not here to determine that," Bruneau said. "We're here to determine what's right."

The letter and envelope are both handwritten. The letter is signed, Will. The photo is signed.

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