By Taylor Goldberg –
It is considered one of the most horrific crimes in Lancaster County to this day.
The victim was only 16 years old. Her name, Laurie Show.
It happened at 92 Black Oak Drive in East Lampeter Township. Show mother, Hazel Show (now Hazel Whitehead), had returned from a falsely arranged counseling appointment to find her daughter, bloodied and gasping for air on her bedroom floor. Laurie’s last words, “Michelle did it. I love you.”
Her murderer, 19 year-old Lisa Michelle Lambert.
“It was so senseless, there was absolutely no reason that her life was taken, none what so ever” said Whitehead who, with Show’s father, agreed to this interview to mark 20 years since the time they lost their daughter.
Just before Christmas 1991, Lambert and two accomplices schemed a way to attack and kill Show against whom Lambert had developed an unhealthy resentment.
Now, on the 20th anniversary of the murder, the stark contrast between the two girls is what many people remember most.
Laurie Show was a giving girl, she loved her family, she tutored kids in school and had a handful of friends. She had a belief in God and enjoyed Bible study and Sunday school.
At the other end of the spectrum, according to people that knew her, was the trash-talking, heavily made up, sometimes violent provocateur, Lisa Michelle Lambert.
According to Whitehead, no one talked back to Lambert, no one voiced their own opinion because she was “in charge.” Lambert would attempt to find kids that didn’t have a lot of friends, so she could become close with them- that way, she felt powerful.
Show met Lambert in the spring of 1991 at a neighbor’s house. Not too long after they met, Lambert starting giving Show a hard time concerning her appearance.
In early June, Lambert broke up with her long-term boyfriend Lawrence Yunkin even though she was pregnant with his child.
That summer Show and Yunkin started hanging out and spending time together.
“Everybody says Laurie dated him, they weren’t dates,” confirmed Whitehead. “They hung out together. He was crying, all upset because Michelle broke up with him.”
Show and Yunkin had planned to see fireworks the Saturday before the Fourth of July back in ’91. The time they spent together before then, Yunkin date-raped Show.
Yunkin and Lambert got back together shortly after the holiday. Lambert had a problem with Show spending time with Yunkin, to the point where Lambert developed a strong hatred towards Show.
One night Whitehead went to pick up Show from work at the “Deb Shop” located in the East Township Mall. She noticed that Yunkin and Lambert were parked up front. As Show was on her way out, Whitehead said she noticed a girl chasing Show around the mall and then push her into wall. It was Lambert. Show got away and met her mother outside the mall. Whitehead called the police, who said nothing could be done because everyone had left the scene.
Not too long after that incident, Show noticed that Lambert was waiting for her outside the shop where she worked. She notified Whitehead and the police were called. Officer Robin Weaver of East Lampeter Township Dept. was speaking with Show when Whitehead arrived.
To the officer, Show confessed the date-rape incident.
“That was the first time I had heard Laurie [Show] talk about Lawrence [Yunkin] raping her,” said Whitehead.
Days later, at Lancaster’s local Market, “Roots,” Lambert and Yunkin followed Show and her mother. It was not too long after that the two approached Show and her mother and caused yet another scene, Whitehead and Show were able to find a constable at the market to end the confrontation. Lambert looked very pregnant that day it should be noted.
In November Show and some friends went shopping at East Town Mall. When Whitehead picked up Show she was in tears, Lambert and Yunkin had pulled up while the girls were outside and physically beat up Show.
“No one did anything. They were scared,” said Whitehead. “Laurie didn’t want to hit her, she (Lambert) was pregnant.”
Police were involved and charges were pressed for simple assault. But it didn’t stop.
“We had to have our phone number changed, she would call the house and scream obscenities at us,” said Whitehead.
It was December 19, when Whitehead got a phone call at work. She was told that she had to report to the high school at 7:30 the next morning to talk about a incident that happened with Show outside the school gym.
About a half hour later, the same person called again and told her to meet them at 7 a.m. the next morning at the junior high school.
“If I would have gone to the high school I would have taken Laurie with me. The bus usually picks her up around that time,” said Whitehead.
Whitehead told Show that she was called to the school. Show told her mother she had no idea what it could be about, Show did not have gym class.
The next morning, Dec. 20, Whitehead left for the “meeting.” Show had been doing her hair when she left.
It was only moments later that Lisa Michelle Lambert and Lambert’s friend who also had harassed Show, Tabitha Buck, showed up to the condo on 92 Black Oak Drive.
When Whitehead appeared at the school, the person she was allegedly supposed to meet with wasn’t there.
“It was 7:07, I wrote the teacher a note that said, ‘I was here, if you need me I will come back,'” added Whitehead.
Whitehead knew something was wrong, so she rushed home. Her neighbor had already been outside, and she asked Whitehead if everything was okay, and said that there had been a commotion upstairs.
“Any other time they are nosy busy bodies, but that morning they chose not to go in and see what’s wrong,” said a choked-up Whitehead.
Whitehead rushed up the stairs of the condo. She found Show, lying bloody on the bedroom floor. The phone cord tied around her legs, rope knotted around her neck, and a bloody bread knife lying beside her.
“I walked in and found her,” forced Whitehead. “I screamed for help, I ran out on the front porch and screamed for someone to call 911.”
Whitehead rushed back upstairs. She cut the rope from Laurie’s neck and noticed her neck was cut. The neighbor rushed upstairs and reached for the phone, it didn’t work for the chord was tied around Laurie’s legs.
Jan Faustnaut was the first police officer to the scene. Faustnaut was a paramedic, who was familiar with Whitehead from working together at the hospital. She noticed that Show had been mouthing to Whitehead.
“I told her that I loved her, and her dad loved her and that God would take care of her,” recalled Whitehead as she looked at her dying daughter. “I held her in my arms, holding her head and neck together.”
Laurie’s father, John Show had been working in Philadelphia at the time of the murder. He was notified later that day.
Buck went back to school while Lambert and Yunkin all went on with their regular days as if nothing happened.
Former Penn Manor Principal Jan Mindish recalled Buck coming late to school that day. According to Mindish everyone was on Christmas break when the story of the Laurie Show murder hit the news and only several employees were still to work at the school.
“She came in late to school that day,” said Mindish. “The Principal working at the time was in shock and the concern was how this would make Penn Manor look.”
Buck wrote herself a late note that day. Her Physical Education teacher, Julie Spangler noticed Buck’s face covered in scratches. When she asked what happened, Buck said that she had gone to McDonald’s before school and got into a fist fight with a Hispanic girl.
Both Spangler and the attendance officer had to later testify in court.
Approximately 36 hours after the murder, Lambert, Buck and Yunkin were all arrested at the Garden Spot Bowling Alley in Strasburg.
Lambert chose to present her case without a jury. Her attorney: Christina Rainville.
When in court Lambert stated that she had always been called by her middle name and her first was actually in fact, Lisa. Lisa Michelle Lambert had been quiet as well as respectful and well-dressed when seen in court.
According to Lambert her home life consisted of strict Christian parents with high morals.
Lambert’s partner, Tabitha Buck was a 17 year-old student at Penn Manor High School, who had transferred from Conestoga Valley a few months before the murder.
Both Lambert and Buck were charged with one count of criminal homicide and criminal conspiracy and committed to Lancaster County Prison without bail.
Yunkin had been charged with one count of hindering apprehension (prosecution) and committed to prison with $1 million bail for driving the girls to the crime scene.
Judge Dalzell on April 15, 1997 freed Lisa Michelle Lambert. He legally voided the conviction declaring that Lambert was innocent.
He said that she was wrongly convicted by perjured testimony, fabricated evidence, withheld evidence and other examples of misconduct. He read the 90-page order that kept prosecutors from retrying her. It took 45 minutes to outline his decision.
Attorney John A. Kenneff referred their cases to the U.S. Attorney Office for further investigation.
Rainville was the only one that spoke the day Lambert was released. Rainville stated that she always knew Lambert was innocent and that justice in America was served that day.
Rainville also made a point that Lambert would probably never step foot in Lancaster again for she is going to try and avoid the harassment that was bound to come with her freedom.
After many legal battles Lambert was found guilty by a federal judge Anita Brody of the Federal District Court in Philadelphia, and is now in jail for first-degree murder along with her accomplice Tabitha Buck.
Lambert had caused trouble in a handful of prisons, and she is now located in an all-women prison in Massachusetts after spending time in Lancaster County Prison and prison in Delaware and New Jersey.
Both John Show and Whitehead agreed that talking about their daughter is how they cope with the pain of losing her.
“There is not a day that goes by that I don’t talk about her in someway,” said Whitehead. “You need to talk about it, it keeps them with you. It brings back memories and that’s a comforting feeling.”