View Full Version : Father Charged With Misdemeanor In Daughter's Death
February 28th, 2008, 05:28 PM
SEWARD, Neb. -- A judge's ruling barring a Pleasant Dale father from being charged with murder has led to a recall petition.
The Seward County sheriff and county attorney who handled the case of Lucas Peterson, 23, are on the hot seat. Peterson's daughter, Trista, died of severe blunt force trauma to her head, neck and body, and autopsy showed. The 14-month-old child's remains were found in Butler County in April 2007. Peterson led authorities to the body after he was told he wouldn't face felony charges.
Last week, a Seward County district judge said Peterson could only face a charge of concealing the death of a human -- a misdemeanor.
February 28th, 2008, 05:34 PM
First, someone needs to find out who was in on that deal. Then you lock all of them in a room with the exhumed remains of that baby. For a week. Just leave 'em there, tell them it's only a misdemeanor to conceal the remains of a body by hiding it in a locked room with a judge, two lawyers, and the ass that killed her.
September 2nd, 2009, 08:26 AM
Lucas J. Peterson was released Monday from the Butler County Jail, where he was being held on a charge of unlawful burial of human remains. Butler County Attorney Julie Reiter said she dropped the charge and ordered Peterson's release.
She said she acted after Seward County, where the girl is believed to have been killed, dismissed charges of felony child abuse resulting in death and tampering with evidence against Peterson.
Seward County was forced to drop the charges after District Judge Alan Gless ruled last year that authorities violated a cooperation agreement with Peterson. Evidence gathered under the agreement — the body — was suppressed. The Nebraska Court of Appeals upheld his ruling in August.
The girl, who was thought to have died Jan. 3, 2007, was found buried about 20 miles north of Seward. An autopsy found that she died of blunt-force trauma to the head, neck and trunk.
Peterson said he led authorities to his daughter Trista's body in April 2007 only on the condition that no felony charges be filed against him. Seward County authorities said they promised not to file felony charges only if it was determined the girl died accidentally.
Leah Bucco-White, a spokeswoman for the Attorney General's Office, said the state filed a brief Aug. 26 with the Nebraska Court of Appeals, seeking to refile felony charges.
The defense has 30 days to respond, she said. The appeals court would then set a date for oral arguments.http://www.omaha.com/article/20090902/NEWS01/709029942/0/FRONTPAGE
From a local editorial:
There was still a possibility, however, that Peterson could face felony charges in Butler County, where Trista's body was found.
Those hopes were dashed, however, when the State Appeals Court last month upheld a ruling that sheriff's deputies had failed to properly warn Peterson of his rights when they convinced him to lead them to his daughter's body.
"The record is clear that, on April 12,  officers initiated the interview with Peterson, Peterson did not have counsel, had previously invoked his right to remain silent, and had not been advised of his Miranda rights. …" wrote Chief Appeals Court Judge Everett Inbody.
Court records indicate that the statute of limitations has run out on misdemeanor charges, and in any event, there is little evidence that will stand up in court to convict anyone of anything in the case.
Two years ago, when a petition was circulated unsuccessfully in Seward County to recall Elston and Yocum, the Journal Star editorial board said the effort was premature, and that proceedings would produce more facts.
Sadly, the facts that came to light showed just how badly the case was bungled. Justice apparently will never be meted out in court for the death of little Trista.http://journalstar.com/news/opinion/editorial/article_bcc27884-9743-11de-ad88-001cc4c002e0.html
September 2nd, 2009, 02:20 PM
Off on a technicality... Sadly this happens too many times. People treat the system like a game and then things like this happen and i lose faith in the system set in place to protect the innocent.
September 2nd, 2009, 03:42 PM
So sorry baby Trista. Your murderer will get his due in Hell ten fold....and that' no promise, that's the truth.
Rest in peace baby Trista, safe journey home.
September 3rd, 2009, 11:06 AM
silva, thx for your many angel babies. this is how i like to think of the poor victims...not dead, not suffering, but happy, joyful and loved in a place of perfect peace.
i hope this waste of space lives in misery, dies alone and afraid and roasts in the far reaches of hell.
September 24th, 2010, 06:31 PM
A Pleasant Dale man could now face felony charges in the 2007 death of his infant daughter after the Nebraska Supreme Court on Friday overturned a lower court decision to throw out the charges.
The high court ruled that Lucas Peterson needed to both lead police to his daughter's body and prove that her death was accidental in order to qualify for a deal with prosecutors to avoid felony charges. Peterson contended the death of his daughter was accidental, but testimony from a forensic pathologist indicated Trista Peterson had intentional injuries to her head and body.
The lower-court judge had thrown out felony charges in 2008, saying investigators had promised Peterson leniency in exchange for help finding the girl's body.
Attorney General Jon Bruning called the decision "the first step toward justice for Trista" and said his office would pursue the felony case against Peterson, who could face life in prison if convicted.
Prosecutors said their agreement not to pursue felony charges against Peterson applied only if Trista died of accidental causes. Peterson argued that he had fulfilled his part of the agreement, as he understood it. Court records indicate a recording of Peterson's talk with authorities about the deal ran out before he gave his consent, and he never signed a written agreement.
In 2008, Seward County District Judge Alan Gless ordered the felony charges to be dismissed, saying the agreement was ambiguous and prosecutors acted in bad faith in pursuing a felony case. He ordered them to instead charge Peterson with a misdemeanor charge of concealing the death. But they never did, and Gless later dismissed the case.
September 24th, 2010, 06:49 PM
Apparently Seward County is the place to live if you plan on killing your babies.
September 28th, 2010, 05:03 PM
Attorneys Ask for Alleged Child Abuser to be Freed
Font Size: Attorneys for a man accused of child abuse resulting in the death of his baby daughter have asked the Nebraska Supreme Court to release him from custody.
Jeff Pickens, of the Nebraska Public Advocacy Commission, said
Tuesday that the motion was filed Monday for 25-year-old Lucas
Peterson. Court records say Peterson now lives in Platte County.
Last week, the high court overturned a Seward County judge who had thrown out charges against Peterson because of Peterson's deal to lead authorities to the infant's body in 2007.
Peterson was arrested Friday on a Seward County warrant.
September 29th, 2010, 12:21 AM
omg!!! dont this guy go, he has been free far to damn long!!!
September 29th, 2010, 01:59 AM
They should let him go and publicize the place and time, dress him in bright orange, and walk him down the steps of the court. Hunting season!
September 29th, 2010, 04:15 AM
I don't understand how they can ask that. It was the Nebraska Supreme Court that overturned the decision so that they could pave the way to charge him with the felonys they need to. Now his attorneys are going to ask the Supreme Court to set him free? The justice system is fucked up. This man in his picture looks so damn evil. I know he must be to kill that beautiful child, but the look in his eyes are just down right malicious. I wonder why the mother never saw that look and ran? I just pray with all my heart with all the fuck ups in this case that there is justice for this little Angel of God's.
October 1st, 2010, 01:19 PM
Court Asks For Arrest Justification In Child Death Case
The Nebraska Supreme Court has given the Nebraska attorney general five days to explain why the state should not release a man implicated in the death of his infant daughter.
Twenty-five-year-old Lucas Peterson has been held since Friday, September 24 the day on which the high court released a decision to overrule a district
In 2008 that judge dismissed charges of child abuse resulting in death and unlawful burial.
On Monday, Peterson's lawyers asked for him to be released, saying that only the Supreme Court had authority to issue an arrest warrant at this stage in Peterson's case
October 16th, 2010, 02:25 PM
The Nebraska Supreme Court said Friday that it will not order the release of a man facing charges in his infant daughter’s death.
Lucas Peterson’s attorneys have argued his Sept. 24 arrest by Seward County authorities was illegal. But the high court dismissed their request to release Peterson, 25, saying the request should have been made in Seward County District Court, where the warrant was issued.
Peterson’s attorney Jeff Pickens said Friday that he has filed a motion with the lower court to recall the warrant, and a hearing has been set for Tuesday afternoon.
Peterson is being held in a state prison facility in Lincoln because of concerns about his safety in the county jail.
January 14th, 2011, 08:52 AM
As recently as September, it appeared that Lucas Peterson might never be punished for the methamphetamine-fueled rage that resulted in the death of his infant daughter, Trista, almost four years ago in a Pleasant Dale apartment.
On Thursday, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Prosecutors used the leverage of a Nebraska Supreme Court ruling in their favor to obtain a plea bargain agreement.
Peterson, 25, also acknowledged his guilt in unlawful burial and could face as many as 25 years in prison at his Feb. 28 sentencing. An original charge of child abuse resulting in death could have meant a life sentence.
Elston and John Freudenberg, chief of the criminal bureau in the Nebraska attorney general's office, shared the prosecution side of the aisle and declined to comment as Peterson was led away.
Freudenberg's boss, Attorney General Jon Bruning, later provided a prepared statement.
"Mr. Peterson has finally been brought to justice for killing little Trista," Bruning said. "Now those who loved her can begin the healing process."
Trista's mother, Jennifer Williams, was serving a sentence on a bad-check charge at the women's prison in York when her daughter died.
She was in court Thursday to witness the guilty pleas and left before she could be asked for her reaction.
January 14th, 2011, 11:28 AM
Peterson is being held in a state prison facility in Lincoln because of concerns about his safety in the county jail.
Who the hell was concerned for HIS SAFETY??? They should have chucked him into genpop and announced over the loudspeakers exactly WHY he was there...
January 14th, 2011, 01:04 PM
I find this to be extra fucking sweet because I bet he let his guard down and thought he was going to get away with it and them BLAM! 25 years.
Ha ha, you sick fucking asshole! Joke's on you. Enjoy getting your ass pounded for the next 25 years!
January 14th, 2011, 01:30 PM
Burn in hell methhead - I hope you are NEVER safe!
May 20th, 2011, 03:27 PM
I hate, hate, HATE Lucas Peterson!
I am sorry this is the maximum sentence he could get, but i'm just glad the asshole is getting locked up....
Lucas Peterson sentenced to 20 years in prison for daughter's death
Lucas Peterson will serve at least 10 years and 10 months in prison for the manslaughter death of his infant daughter, Trista, in 2007.
Seward County District Judge Alan Gless imposed the maximum 20-year sentence Thursday on the manslaughter charge and 20 months to five years on a related charge of concealing the body in a shallow grave in neighboring Butler County.
Peterson and his attorneys have 30 days to decide whether they want to appeal. Otherwise, Thursday's action will wrap up a prosecution that seemed to spin out of control until the Nebraska Supreme Court intervened last year and cleared the way for the reinstatement of felony charges.
Nothing that any court can do can make a tragedy go away, as Peterson acknowledged in a letter that his attorney, Todd Lancaster, quoted from later in the day.
"I know my actions were inexcusable and I can't express the depths of the remorse that I feel every day."
An original charge of child abuse resulting in death could have meant a life sentence.
Sentencing Judge Gless had tossed out pending felony charges in 2008, saying prosecutors were bound by the cooperation agreement offering misdemeanor limits.
The Supreme Court later said that Peterson -- who'd been out of jail for almost a year at that point -- needed to prove the death was accidental in order to qualify for the agreement.
He was arrested again later the same day.
How I wish I could tell him to his face to 'fuck off!' I hate this man, grrrr!!
May 20th, 2011, 04:36 PM
At least he finally got convicted. I can't believe the course this prosecution took.
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