Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Murder of Laurie Show


In killing Laurie Show, Lisa Michelle Lambert also helped ruined the lives of Lawrence "Butch" Yunkin and Tabitha Buck — and of her own family.

Butch had physically attacked Michelle's younger brothers — ages three and ten at the time — before the murders. The Lamberts say they tried to protect their daughter when they first discovered Butch's violent streak, but that they had to consider their other children. They insist they did not, as reported, pressure her to stay with the boy because of his uncle's position in their church. But when things got too rough, they asked her to leave home.

The Lamberts stood by Michelle through the trial and first appeals, but Rainville's antics proved too much. In 1998, on the final day of the Stengel appeal hearing, Leonard and Judy Lambert issued a public statement denying Michelle's charges that an unnamed family member had assaulted her. They said that Rainville had tried to persuade them that talking about this would help Michelle's case. The Lamberts said the story was a lie, and they were outraged that Rainville tried to draw their younger children into the deceit, asking them to testify and coaching them on how to answer questions.

Sadly, the argument between Michelle and her parents seems to come down to book rights. The Lamberts wrote a book about the case in 1993, and they say Lisa signed a contract granting them the legal rights to the story. During her temporary release in 1997, she demanded that the rights be returned, and threatened a lawsuit. The Lamberts complain that Michelle's legal problems have left them financially devastated and that they intend to hold on to these rights in order to recoup some of their losses. They're still raising Michelle's teenage daughter.

MCI Framingham, where Lambert is currently incarcerated.
MCI Framingham, where Lam-
bert is currently incarcerated.

In 2004, three 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judges (one of whom was Michael Chertoff, later to become head of the Department of Homeland Security) rejected Michelle's appeal. It was a simple matter: Michelle's attorneys told the judges she was present during the murder, thus largely establishing her guilt.

In June 2005, Lisa Michelle Lambert's final appeal was turned down by the U.S. Supreme Court. She's in prison for good, and the legal circus that has pained the Lambert and Show families — and Lancaster County — is really over.

Lisa Michelle Lambert's trial highlighted a potential failure in our justice system, but Laurie Show's death helped lead Pennsylvania to enact anti-stalking laws.


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