WATERVILLE – The jury in the murder trial of Lacey Hirst-Pavek reached a guilty verdict just before 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 16 after beginning deliberations at 9 a.m.
Hirst-Pavek was on trial for her involvement in the murder of Michelle Kitterman during the early morning hours of March 1, 2009. Kitterman’s family, mother Tracy, twin sister Danielle and older sister Melinda were in Douglas County Superior Court along with other family and friends to hear the verdict.
At 2:15 p.m., Judge John Hotchkiss announced the jury’s guilty verdict for Hirst-Pavek’s charges of first degree premeditated murder and first degree manslaughter of an unborn quick child. Hirst-Pavek’s parents and assorted family members were also in the courtroom when she was declared guilty of all charges, including the aggravated circumstances of an accomplice using a deadly weapon and knowing the victim was pregnant before the crime was committed.
Hirst-Pavek is scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday, Nov. 23 at 1:30 p.m. in Okanogan County by Hotchkiss. The maximum sentence she faces is life in prison without the possibility of parole.
When Defense Attorney Ron Hammett had Hotchkiss pool the jury, all 12 members stated the verdict was their personal verdict, the verdict of the entire jury and the jury’s verdict for all counts and special circumstances.
“We’re so relieved right now I can’t even express it,” Melinda Kitterman said. “It’s nice to know she’s going to pay for her crimes.”
The State rested their case on Friday, Nov. 12, finishing up their presentation of evidence to the jury with a detailed examination of phone records between Hirst-Pavek and convicted murderer Tansy Mathis from Feb. 25 through March 3.
When Hammett began presenting the defense’s case on Monday, Nov. 15, he called just one witness to the stand, Dr. John Butt, a forensic pathologist from Vancouver, B.C. who testified about information he read in two books regarding quickening. He also testified this past spring during the trial for Mathis and convicted murderer David Richards.
The trial began on Monday, Nov. 1 with jury selection and though it was expected to last three weeks, the jury was given the case at 4 p.m. on Nov. 15 after the prosecution and defense attorneys gave their closing statements.
According to court documents, Kitterman was having an affair with Hirst-Pavek’s husband, Daniel Pavek, and was pregnant with his child. Hirst-Pavek allegedly made statements that she wanted Kitterman “taken care of.”
Through an investigation, the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Department determined that Hirst-Pavek eventually made contact with Mathis regarding Kitterman and over several meetings, in Okanogan County and Spokane, they came to an agreement for Mathis to “take care of” Kitterman for $500.
On March 1, the body of Kitterman was found in a driveway in the Pine Creek area south of Tonasket. According to court documents the autopsy’s preliminary results indicated the cause of death was homicidal violence and that Kitterman was about 11 weeks pregnant.
On Tuesday, May 11, Mathis and Richards received their sentencing for the guilty verdicts brought down on them at the end of April. Mathis received the top range of sentencing for her crimes. On count one, aggravated murder in the first degree, Mathis received a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. On count two, first degree manslaughter of an unborn child, she received the top range of a sentence of 78 to 102 months plus an additional 24 month enhancement for possession of a deadly weapon. For count three, kidnapping in the first degree, Mathis received the top range of a sentence of 51 to 68 months plus an additional 24-month enhancement for possession of a deadly weapon. Finally, for count four, tampering with physical evidence, she received one year.
For Richards’ first count of second degree murder, he received a mid-range sentence of a 165 to 265 month sentence range, which comes to 215 months plus an additional 24-month enhancement for possession of a deadly weapon. For his conviction of manslaughter of an unborn child, Richards was sentenced a mid-range sentence from the range of 111 to 147 months plus an additional 24-month enhancement for possession of a deadly weapon.
The sentencing for Phillips, who plead guilty to premeditated murder in the first degree, manslaughter of a quick child in the first degree, kidnapping in the first degree and tampering with physical evidence on Monday, March 29, has been continued by council and has not yet been scheduled.