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Obsessed: The Murder of Laurie Show

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            Lisa Michelle Lambert, who went by her middle name, was nineteen years old and pregnant during the holiday season of 1991. She had been with her twenty-year-old boyfriend, Lawrence Yunkin, for over a year. However, Lawrence and Michelle had broken up briefly over the past summer. During that time, Lawrence briefly dated another girl, sixteen-year-old Laurie Show. Although the relationship only lasted approximately a week, the fact that Lawrence had been with Laurie infuriated the young girl. She became obsessed.



            Laurie Michelle Show was born January 27th, 1975, to Hazel and John Show. Her parents divorced, and Laurie continued to live with her mother near Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Laurie was a quiet girl who wanted to make friends with Michelle Lambert. Michelle was a beautiful bleach blonde with gorgeous blue eyes. Laurie looked up to the girl, who was three years older than her. She became friends with Michelle and Michelle’s boyfriend, Lawrence Yunkin.

            Michelle Lambert reconciled with Lawrence Yunkin just before the 4th of July in 1991. Lambert learned of the brief fling between Lawrence and Laurie and was outraged. According to Laurie’s mother Hazel, Laurie told her that Lawrence had date raped her. Michelle was not concerned about the truth but was infuriated and insecure. Michelle had dropped out of high school at age fifteen and was living with her boyfriend in a trailer.



            Although they were only broken up for eight days, friends of Michelle said she was obsessed and determined to “get back at” Laurie. Soon after reconciling with her boyfriend, Michelle learned she was pregnant. She also started to stalk Laurie. Michelle showed up at Laurie’s job and verbally harassed her. She staged an incident in which she made it appear as if Laurie had shoved a pregnant woman for no reason. She told everyone that Laurie had sex with her boyfriend and was no obsessed with her, but she was actually the one obsessed.

            A friend of Michelle’s, Tabatha Buck, stood by Michelle. She harassed Laurie at school and tried to beat her up on multiple occasions. Tabatha saw her once at the mall and punched Laurie several times. Laurie was afraid of making things worse, so she made her mother promise not to tell the cops about the date rape or the harassment. However, Hazel eventually would break this promise and report an assault on her daughter by Michelle Lambert.



            In one particularly disturbing incident, Michelle attacked Laurie violently at the East Towne Mall. Laurie was injured and her wrist was nearly broken. Hazel Show contacted the police and pressed assault charges against Michelle Lambert. Michelle was not arrested, however. Hazel explained that her daughter was being stalked, often seeing Lambert, Buck, and Yunkin stalking her. Despite her pleas for help, there were no laws against stalking by a former classmate in Pennsylvania at the time.

            Michelle, who is described as extremely manipulative, convinced her friend Tabatha to obtain the new phone number for Laurie Show from school records after Hazel changed their number and made sure it was unlisted. Tabatha also fed Michelle information about what bus Laurie rode, what time she got home, and who her guidance counselor was. Lambert told Tabatha and many other friends that she wanted to kill Laurie by slitting her throat.

            On December 19th, 1991, Michelle and Tabatha arranged a phone call to Hazel in which they pretended to be Laurie’s guidance counselor. Hazel was asked to go to the school around 7am the next day to meet with the counselor. Given the harassment and rumors Michelle was spreading about her daughter, Hazel was not alarmed by this request. That night, Lawrence, Michelle, and Tabatha went to K-Mart and purchased ropes, hats, and gloves.

            On the morning of December 20th, 1991, Laurie was drying her hair and preparing for her final day of school before Christmas break. Hazel headed off to meet with Laurie’s guidance counselor. However, once at the school, Hazel waited in vain as no one showed up to meet her. She decided to return to her condo where she found a heinously ghastly scene.

            Laurie was found in her bedroom lying on the floor in a pool of her own blood. There was a rope tied around her neck.  Hazel hurried to cut the rope, but she realized that Laurie’s throat had been slit. While waiting for 911, Hazel cradled her daughter. Laurie managed to tell her mother that Michelle had done this. She told her mother she loved her before dying in her arms.

            The autopsy of Laurie Show confirmed the brutality of her murder. She had a five-inch gash to her throat, a stab wound puncturing her lung, several defensive wounds, several wounds to her head, and a stab wound that grazed her spine. Her cause of death was determined to be acute blood loss after having her left carotid artery slit and the manner of death homicide.

            Given the statement made to her mother and the months of harassment that Laurie had endured at Michelle’s hand, Michelle was immediately considered the prime suspect in the case. Hazel and a neighbor told the detectives that they saw Lawrence Yunkin in the neighborhood that day. Another witness saw two young women leaving the condo shortly before Hazel returned home. The police quickly found Tabatha Buck, Michelle Lambert, and Lawrence Yunkin at a local bowling alley and placed them under arrest.

            Tabatha Buck had several scratch marks on her face and arms. Yunkin was also found to have scratch marks. Michelle did not have any wounds on her. Despite Tabatha’s claim that the girls had been in a fight with Hispanic girls that morning, the police believed the wounds were Laurie’s attempts to defend herself. At first, all three denied being present at the condo of Laurie Show that morning.

            It wasn’t long, however, before Lawrence Yunkin told the detectives that he had dropped Michelle and Tabatha off in front of Laurie’s apartment that morning. He said he did not know they were going to kill her. He said the girls had planned to scare her, tie her up, and then cut off her hair. Tabatha and Michelle admitted to being in the apartment as well. Lisa insisted that Lawrence was also at the scene and that he and Tabatha had perpetrated this crime as she tried to help Laurie.

            Tabatha admitted to being in the apartment and tying Laurie up. She pointed the finger at Michelle for the actual murder, however. Michelle pointed the finger at Lawrence, now claiming he was abusive, and she had tried to help Laurie. She said that Lawrence made her leave the room after she tried to help. All three were facing first-degree murder charges as adults, although Tabatha Buck was under eighteen at the time.

            Lawrence Yunkin provided an alibi that he was at a nearby restaurant after dropping the girls off. He did admit to knowing that the girls were planning to scare Laurie and cut her hair off. He also admitted to helping the girls destroy evidence after the crime. He agreed to testify against Lisa Michelle Lambert and Tabatha Buck in exchange for a plea deal that made many people pretty angry. The District Attorney offered Lawrence Yunkin a deal to testify against Lambert and Buck in exchange for a guilty plea to hindering a prosecution. Yunkin was expected to serve just one year for his role.

            While awaiting trial, Michelle Lambert gave birth to her and Yunkin’s child, a daughter. Lambert’s parents took custody of and raised the child. In 1992, the trials began. A pair of sweatpants was presented as evidence with Laurie’s blood on them. The pants belonged to Yunkin, but both Yunkin and Buck said Lambert had worn the pants that morning during the crime. Yunkin provided testimony against his no ex-girlfriend Lambert and her friend Tabatha.

           



Lambert was convicted July 20th, 1992, exactly six months following the murder of first-degree murder and criminal conspiracy to commit murder. Tabatha Buck’s defense now denied she was there. However, in his closing statement, her defense attorney held up Buck’s Starter Jacket. Unbeknownst to him, the missing piece of the knife that killed Laurie Show was inside. He just sealed his client’s fate. She was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy. Both women were sentenced to life in prison without parole.


            Lawrence Yunkin’s deal was rescinded when police determined he had lied and committed perjury during the trial of Michelle Lambert. There was a letter written by Yunkin to Lambert where he encouraged her take responsibility for the crime because he believed, as a woman, she would receive a lighter sentence. There was also a letter of twenty-nine questions that Lambert wrote to Yunkin in which she implies that she is only covering for Yunkin and that Yunkin and Buck alone killed Show. However, Lambert does not deny being present during the murder. Yunkin claimed that the letter was forged by Lambert, but a handwriting expert made the interpretation that the letter was authentic. After his deal was rescinded, Yunkin was convicted of third-degree murder and ordered to serve ten to twenty years in prison.

            Following the convictions, Hazel Show set out to change the Pennsylvania laws that allowed the perpetrators to stalk her daughter without consequence. Due in part to her efforts, Pennsylvania enacted new anti-stalking laws in 1993. Had these laws been in effect in 1991, Laurie Show may still be alive. The system failed her.

            Lambert appealed her conviction several times but was unsuccessful until 1997. In 1997, Lambert filed a petition of habeas corpus to a federal judge. U.S. District Judge Stewart Dalzell presided over the hearing. Lambert claimed that evidence had been ignored or misrepresented in court. She also alleged that she was framed by the police for Laurie’s murder, despite admitting to being in the room during the crime. She now said that Lancaster Police had gang raped her in the summer of 1991 and that they framed her to protect themselves.

            The defense team also presented a set of clothing Lambert was wearing the night of the crime, which contained no blood. They reminded the judge that the sweatpants were owned by Lawrence Yunkin, not Michelle Lambert. The correspondence between Yunkin and Lambert, for which Yunkin is accused of lying about being forged, was also presented. How can they use evidence to convict Lambert while also using the same evidence to justify rescinding the deal from Yunkin?

            During the hearing, prosecutors and detectives testified, but it was noted that they contradicted themselves frequently. The detectives claimed they never found a pink trash bag with bloody clothing in it. However, the defense found a video of the detectives finding that pink trash bag. Inside the bag were Yunkin’s bloody socks and sneakers. This was never disclosed to the defense at the original trial. A partial earring belonging to Yunkin was also found at the scene, but detectives had lost the piece of evidence. Laurie’s own mother provided testimony that she had seen Lawrence Yunkin near the apartment that morning, another thing that was not disclosed to the defense.

            Judge Stewart Dalzell ruled that there was an enormous amount of corruption and mishandling of evidence in this case. He believed Lisa Michelle Lambert was actually innocent and ordered her conviction vacated. He also ordered that the State of Pennsylvania is barred from prosecuting her again for this crime. Horrified, Laurie’s mother wept as she saw the woman who stalked her daughter for months, the woman whom her daughter told her was the killer, go free.

            Following her release in 1997, the State of Pennsylvania appealed the ruling. As it turned out, Lambert had not exhausted all her state appeals before the federal court hearing. As a result of this technicality, Lisa Michelle Lambert was returned to prison in January of 1998. The ruling was reversed based on Lambert’s defense not following the proper appeal procedures. Lambert continued to appeal her case but exhausted her final federal appeal in 2005.

            Even from behind bars, Lisa Michelle Lambert continued to cause chaos. She described a relationship she was having with another woman in prison, claiming discrimination based upon her homosexual relationship. She got in trouble several times, eventually getting herself transferred out of state. In 2007, she filed a lawsuit against corrections officers in Pennsylvania prison staff in 1996. She alleged that the prison failed to prevent the attack. She was rewarded a $35,000 settlement and one corrections officer was given a prison sentence for having sex with her. It is to be noted, however, that any time a prison guard engages in sexual contact with a prisoner, it is considered rape because of the guard’s position of power, even if the inmate initiated the contact.

            Lisa Michelle Lambert has made at least eleven claims of sexual assault since the murders. She accused Lancaster police of gang raping her, the corrections officer, and many more. She claimed a family friend assaulted her at one point, a claim her parents said was absolutely not true. She lost much of any credibility that she had when her own parents contradicted her testimony. They became somewhat estranged over an argument about rights to Lisa’s story. Her parents, who raised her daughter, said Lisa gave them the rights of her story to cover her numerous legal expenses over the years.

            Lisa Michelle Lambert now goes by Lisa. Her hair is now dark brown, her natural color. She no longer wears the contacts that made her eyes that beautiful shade of blue. Her eyes are truly brown in color. Lisa’s childhood is described as being extremely loving, yet conservative. Apparently, she grew up practically Amish, a culture prevalent near Lancaster. However, she said that all changed when she met Yunkin. She now claims that Yunkin abused her and forced her to take responsibility for his crime.

            In 2016, Lisa Lambert wrote a book about her life. In this book, she describes Yunkin as the ringleader. Apparently, she was encouraged to stalk and fight with Laurie by Yunkin. Yunkin was allegedly afraid of being prosecuted for raping Laurie, so he coerced Tabatha Buck to severely beat Laurie. Lisa said she talked the two out of that plan and they agreed to tie her up and cut her hair instead. She said that she had no idea Tabatha and Lawrence were going to strangle and slit the girls’ throat. However, the judge in her 1998 appeal noted that even if you believe Lisa’s claims, she still puts herself at the scene, she still admits to assisting in the crime, and she admits to doing nothing to help Laurie. Under the law, she is still guilty of first degree-murder.

            In her book. Lisa goes on to complain about the prison food and conditions. She claims a prison guard threatened to cut off her fingers when she was pregnant and unable to remove her rings fast enough due to swelling. She complains about numerous strip searches, dirty conditions, and a lack of heat. It seems that, to this day, Lisa Michelle Lambert believes she can manipulate anyone into getting her way. She currently is in an out-of-state prison serving her time. She will never be eligible for parole.

           



Tabatha Buck was also convicted to life in prison without the possibility of parole. However, in 2012 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that mandatory life sentences for juveniles were unconstitutional. Tabatha Buck, among hundreds of others, was given a resentencing hearing. Buck maintained that she and Michelle entered Laurie’s condo and attacked her. She continued to claim Lisa was the main aggressor and the ringleader of the group. Allegedly, she told Tabatha how to wear her hair and cut her nails to prevent forensic evidence of the crime.  She was sentenced to twenty-eight years to life for the crime. On December 21st, 2019, twenty-eight years and one day after the murder, Tabatha Buck was granted parole. She was forty-five years old at the time of her release.

            Perhaps the biggest miscarriage of justice was the sentencing of Lawrence Yunkin. While he had an alibi for the time of the crime, he was clearly present the day of the crime, had taken the girls to buy supplies for the murder the night before, and destroyed evidence following the murder. He was also involved in many of the stalking incidents leading up to the murder. Yunkin’s deal was rescinded based off perjury, discrediting any testimony he gave. Yunkin was released on parole in 2004, thirteen years after the crime.

            Lancaster police admit there were mistakes made: the shoes and socks of Yunkin in the pink trash bag and failure to disclose all the evidence to the defense. However, to believe Lisa Lambert’s many stories, you have to believe that Lancaster Police framed her instantly after the murder. You also have to believe that Laurie’s mother either lied about Laurie’s accusation that Michelle committed the murder or that she was also trying to frame Lisa. I believe that Lisa is a master of manipulation and is doing everything in her power to manipulate the system and gain her freedom. The accusations of sexual assault and battered woman syndrome were only raised after she exhausted her federal appeals. I believe Lisa was the ringleader- encouraging Buck and Yunkin. I think Yunkin may have been more involved in the crime given his shoes and socks, perhaps an active participant. His culpability, however, does not lessen Lisa Lambert’s culpability.




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