Judge denies triple-murderer request to withdraw guilty pleas

john lee pic.jpg

On Tuesday, Latah County District Court Judge John Stegner released his findings of a motion by convicted triple murderer John Lee to withdraw his guilty pleas.

Lee argued he was not in the right mind when he struck entered an Alford Plea on three counts of First Degree Murder in March of 2016.

On November 29, 2017 a hearing was held for Lee and his attorney, Mark Monson.

“It’s undisputed that at the time he pled guilty, he was unmedicated, he had not been treated for his psychiatric conditions,” said Monson during the hearing.

“We also know that at the time he pled guilty, he was in need of psychological treatment. Certainly treatment was indicated in this particular case.”

But in a 67-page document, Judge Stegner wrote, “To allow Mr. Lee to withdraw his guilty pleas, almost three years after he committed these heinous crimes, would serve no purpose. I believe it would be a miscarriage of justice to reopen this wound for the reasons stated. Mr. Lee and his counsel were able to eliminate the possibility of the death penalty through the plea agreement, despite the fact that Lee murdered three defenseless individuals a cold calculating way.”

Stegner said if he were to allow Lee to withdraw his plea, the death penalty would once again receive serious consideration, if not a likely result.

The judge added, “In lay terms, he got the benefit of his bargain – some would say he received the ultimate bargain – his life.”

Lee’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea is denied with prejudice.

In 2015, Lee went on a shooting spree in Moscow killing his adoptive mother, landlord, and an Arby’s manager. He also seriously wounded a fourth victim.

He is currently serving three life sentences plus additional time for the crimes.

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