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Trista Michelle Peterson

  January 28, 2006 - January 3, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial

Jennifer William's wrote some bad checks and it cost her time in jail, Jennifer was in jail in December of 2006 and would stay there for a year. Jennifer lost a year of her life, Jennifer's daughter, lost her entire life. Trista Michelle Peterson's grandmother reported her missing in January of 2007.

Lucas J. Peterson had been arrested in March on a warrant and at that time he told Police he didn't know where his daughter was. Just two weeks later, he would take Police to her body which he had buried in a shallow grave. In April of 2007, Lucas Peterson was charged with child abuse, death of a child and tampering with physical evidence in the death of Trista.

Trista's had been dressed in a clean diaper and pajamas and then wrapped in a blanket before Lucas buried her, her body stayed there for over three months, Police believe she had been buried on January 4, the day after she died and her body was found on April 12, 2007. An autopsy revealed that Trista had suffered severe, multiple blunt force trauma to her head, neck and body.

In court, Lucas entered the room wearing wrist and angle shackles and would only stare at the table in front of him. Sheriff Joe Yocum had been one of the officers who found Trista's body:

"You could feel the officers anguish, the sense of loss. We had hope, against all odds, that she was
alive somewhere and that somebody was taking care of her"

Lucas said nothing more than he needed to and spoke in soft whispers answering yes or no to questions asked by the judge. Judge Curtis Evans set bond at $1 million and a date was set for Lucas to be back in court. Lucas had admitted that he was the last person to see Trista alive. Lucas said that he had become angry with her and that he picked her up and then threw her into her play pen:

"The defendant left the bedroom and when he returned, Trista Michelle Peterson was
not breathing
and dead"
Sheriff Dan Jejl

Prosecutor Wendy Elston came from the courtroom and answered some questions including questions about the charged of tampering with evidence:

"Basically, he covered up the evidence"

Joe Yocum said that in 23 years of service, having seen Trista's body being lifted out of the shallow grave had been one of the toughest times of his career:

"We couldn't have asked for better hands handling her then the members of the major crimes
unit with the state patrol. Those guys are true professionals. We go home and we hug our kids
just like everyone else does. And I know our guys did that at the end of this one. They held them
a little bit closer"

Lucas plead guilty to manslaughter and unlawful burial of human remains:

"Mr. Peterson has finally been brought to justice for killing little Trista. Now those who loved
her can begin the healing process"
Attorney General - Jon Burning

A manslaughter charge could bring a maximum term of 20 years in prison and up to a $25,000. fine. Unlawful burial of a human is a class four felony with a maximum sentence of five years and a $10,000. fine.

In May of 2011, Lucas J. Peterson was sentenced to the maximum of 20 years in prison by Judge Alan Gless, on the manslaughter charge and 20 months to five years on the unlawful burial of a human. Todd Lancaster, defense attorney for Lucas, read a statement from him:

"I know my actions were inexcusable and I can't express the depths of the remorse
that I feel every day"

"I think it was a just sentence, considering the circumstances of this case and the fact that
Lucas is responsible for his daughters death, which is something, obviously, that he will
live with for the rest of his life"
Sheriff - Joe Yocum

Todd Lancaster said that Lucas had been remorseful from the start and that he had never expected to get a plea deal when he lead Police to his daughters grave:

"He collapsed against the Police car, crying and he said "God will never forgive me
for what I've done". He's not just somebody who said "There she is. I want my deal now"

Sheriff Joe Yocum agreed with what was said and commented on the circumstances that had lead to Lucas being the custodial parent after her mother went to jail:

"But the sad fact is that all those things came together as they did, to the reality that she
ended up being cared for by him and of course we all know the unfortunate circumstances
that befell her"

Jennifer Negron was in court that days, she is a family friend who wore ribbons that had been made when Trista first went missing:

"These ribbons are in Trista's memory. She at least deserves that"

It bothers me, the site creator, that Lucas seems to get "points" for not expecting a plea deal. Why should a man who abuses and kills his child, get points for ANYTHING he does no matter how positive it appears to be? If he had not killed his daughter, he wouldn't be in trouble to begin with. Getting 20 years maximum for taking the life of a child is NOT a "just" sentence, in my opinion, it's like saying Trista's life wasn't worth much and that's simply not true. I beleive in a life for a life and while I don't agree with the death penalty, I believe that life in prison without parole is the sentence that ANYONE who kills a child while abusing that child, should get, no matter if they were "nice enough" to lead Police to the body or not.



This page was created on June 6, 2014
Death Occurred in the state of Nebraska

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