An accomplice in the 1991 killing of Laurie Show will be eligible for parole, likely in 2020.
Tabitha Faith Buck was serving a life term for her 2nd-degree murder conviction regarding the beating, strangulation and stabbing of the 16-year-old Show.
Buck, now 43, was in Lancaster County Court Monday for a re-sentencing hearing due to a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision that deemed life sentences against juveniles “unconstitutional.”
Buck was 17 when she and Lisa Michelle Lambert killed Show inside Show’s East Lampeter Township home on Dec. 20, 1991.
During a 70-minute hearing, Lancaster County President Judge Dennis Reinaker ordered Buck’s sentence be 28 years to life. Buck has already served nearly 26 years, meaning she will be eligible for a parole hearing in just over two years.
Laurie’s parents read a statement, expressing their wishes that Buck not be released.
“Laurie died a horrible death… for reasons I will never understand,” her mother, Hazel Whitehead, read, standing a few feet from Buck. “Why did you agree to come to our house that morning?”
Lambert had been harassing Laurie Show for several months prior to the murder. On that morning, Buck lured Laurie, home alone, to open her front door. Laurie never would have opened the door for Lambert, her mother said.
“Our door was locked. You are the wheel that started the events of that day,” Hazel Whitehead said to Buck.
Once inside, Lambert repeatedly stabbed Laurie, who fought for her life.
At separate times, Buck: prevented Laurie from leaving, handed Lambert a knife, and held down Laurie’s legs as Lambert slashed her neck.
“Why didn’t you just leave?” Hazel Whitehead asked. “You sat on her legs so Michelle could take a butcher knife across Laurie’s throat.”
Buck and Lambert then left Laurie “for dead,” Hazel Whitehead said. “She begged you to take her with you.”
“I pray every day that I made it home in time to hear her whisper, “Michelle did it,”” Hazel Whitehead said.
Buck testified Monday for about 15 minutes. When asked by the president judge about the crime, Buck said she “can’t imagine” how Laurie’s and her own families feel about the re-sentencing, but said nothing about the crime.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has provided re-sentencing guidelines, which in Buck’s case, call for a minimum 30-year prison term.
Assistant District Attorney Susan Moyer asked President Judge Reinaker to order that 30-year minimum, stressing the crime’s devastation on Show’s surviving family and the community. Moyer said there was much testimony about Buck’s education and achievements in prison, but nothing about her emotional growth.
“What about her remorse or morale character?” Moyer asked the judge. “She has not moved forward emotionally at all.”
Also, Moyer said, Buck has not expressed remorse.
“This case is about one person – Laurie Show,” Moyer said.
President Judge Reinaker noted that, unlike other juvenile defendants, Buck had a good family upbringing, being raised in Oregon before moving to Lancaster County about a year before the crime.
“If not for you, (Lambert) didn’t get inside,” President Judge Reinaker said, adding that Buck played an “active role in the homicide.”
President Judge Reinaker also ordered that Buck pay $7,738 in restitution.
Buck is the eighth of 12 inmates – previously serving life for killings they committed as juveniles in Lancaster County – to be re-sentenced.
MEDIA CONTACT: Brett A. Hambright, 717-295-2041; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @BrettHambright