Kimberly Lane, who pleaded guilty to attempted murder just days before her second murder trial was to begin, was sentenced Thursday to eight years in prison.
In a plea agreement April 5, Lane, 19, pleaded guilty to three counts of attempted first-degree murder, charges reduced from three counts of first-degree murder.
Superior Court Judge Steven Conn sentenced Lane to eight years in prison for each count as per the plea agreement, with each count to be served concurrently or at the same time.
Since she has already been incarcerated for more than four and half years, Lane, formerly of California, will be 22 years old when she is released in August 2004.
Conn called the proceedings of having the state Court of Appeals overturn her conviction "an unpleasant experience going though the system" and said that despite his opposition to the sentence he was bound by the plea agreement.
"I don't think it's an appropriate sentence for what I believe the defendant did," Conn said.
"I don't believe eight years is appropriate for your (Lane's) involvement."
In reaching the plea agreement, Deputy County Attorney Derek Carlisle and Lane's attorney, Eric Engan, each had his own reasons not to risk another trial.
Carlisle would not have been able to use her confessions or testimony from her first trial, while Engan did not want to risk a possible harsher sentence from a jury.
"From her travels from California through Golden Valley to Chicago, I think the person before you has changed," Engan said on behalf of Lane, who did not speak in court.
"She has taken more advantage in prison that anyone I have defended."
Lane's codefendant, Bobby Poyson, was recently brought back to Mohave County from death row as a possible witness for the prosecution if Lane would have gone to trial.
With the plea agreement, Poyson was returned back to prison without appearing in court.
As a 14-year-old, Lane, along with Frank Anderson, 52, and Poyson, 24, allegedly murdered Leta Kagen, 37, her 15-year-old son, Robert Delahunt, and Roland Wear, 50 in Golden Valley in August 1996.
Besides the murder charges, Lane was also charged with one count of conspiracy to commit murder and armed robbery for her part in the murders.
In her first trial May 1998, Lane was found guilty by a Mohave County jury and was sentenced a month later to 32 years in prison.
The state Court of Appeals overturned Lane's conviction in December 1999, ruling that incriminating statements Lane made in an interview to a Mohave County sheriff's deputy should not have been allowed as evidence at her trial.
The appeals court ruled that she was incapable of understanding her rights during questioning because of her age and reportedly low intelligence, records show.
In October, the Arizona Supreme Court upheld the lower court's ruling overturning Lane's verdict.
The appellate court also overturned Anderson's conviction in June and his second trial is expected to begin in Mohave County Superior Court June 21.
Poyson was sentenced to death in November 1999.
The state Supreme Court as well as the U.S.
Supreme Court upheld his conviction and death sentence.
12, 1996, Lane lured Delahunt into a small travel trailer on Kagen's property where Poyson and Anderson allegedly killed him with a knife, according to court documents.
It was reported that Poyson and Lane then allegedly borrowed .22-caliber bullets from a neighbor.
Later that night after cutting the telephone lines, Poyson and Anderson allegedly shot Wear and Kagen and the three suspects fled to Illinois in Wear's pickup where they were arrested in Illinois two weeks later.