OKANOGAN – Lacey Kae Hirst-Pavek was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Tuesday, Nov. 23 in Okanogan Superior Court for the murder of Michelle Kitterman and 126 months in prison for the manslaughter of Kitterman’s unborn child.
Along with the prison sentence, Hirst-Pavek was order to pay $13,992.50 jointly and severally with the other convicted murderers in this case, Tansy Mathis, David Richards and Brent Phillips, as restitution to the Kitterman family and $860.50 in court fees.
Before Hirst-Pavek’s sentence was declared by Douglas County Superior Court Judge John Hotchkiss, members of Kitterman’s family and their family advocate spoke to the court about Kitterman’s life and the affect her murder has had on their family.
“To completely express the impact of this on my family is overwhelming and quite frankly impossible,” Malinda Kitterman, Michelle’s older sister said. “I will be mourning the loss of my sister for the rest of my life. Nathan, Michelle’s son, will never know how amazing and caring his mother was. Because of the viciousness of the defendant’s actions, I will mourn the loss of myself. I was born on March 1, 1978 and my sister was beaten and stabbed to death on March 1, 2009. I will never forgive the defendant for taking my sister from my family and me.”
Tracy Kitterman, Michelle’s mother, than addressed the court.
“Today, I am joyous there is justice, but I also have a bleeding in my heart,” she said. “For the families: Lacey, your daughter will grow up without you. I do not hate the Hirst family and I pray I can forgive you someday.”
Her mom spoke about the premature birth of Michelle on May 12, 1983, about 20 minutes before her twin sister, Danielle, and about how active Michelle was as a child.
“Michelle was the girly-girl,” her mother said. “She was involved in plays, talent shows and band. She was very active.”
She said Michelle had many modeling jobs in her life and she walked the runway and made the turns as though she’d been doing it her whole life.
“She could have made a career in modeling but she chose to have her son and raise him instead,” she said. “Michelle was a wonderful mother and she was head-over-heels in love with her son.”
Her mother said Michelle was not always involved in drugs but when she started using them, it put her in contact with people who did not care about her.
“I am angry, full of hate, frightened and constantly confused,” the victim’s mom said. “I have a huge hole in my life and I’m not sure how to start anew. I can’t breath and it feels like something heavy is on my chest when I have a panic attack. I have nightmares and they do not stop when I am awake. I am depressed 99 percent of the time. I only wish Lacey had been able to inform me this was disturbing her and her marriage because I would have done every thing I could have to help.”
She compared the end of Hirst-Pavek’s trial to losing her daughter for the third time, since she had to relive her murder for the third time.
“I have to learn how to live again,” she said. “Like a baby, I have to relearn how to do the simplest things. I realize life is too short. We tend to take the simplest things for granted and I want to live the rest of my years in the best way possible.”
The final speaker before Judge Hotchkiss gave Hirst-Pavek her sentence was Jim Huffman, victim advocate from Families and Friends of Violent Crime Victims.
“It would be easy to make the assumption that this family is vindictive,” he said. “But it would be equally wrong. Far overriding the anger they are feeling is the emotional pain they are feeling.”
Huffman spoke about Michelle’s son, Nathan, and how he will grow up without his mother and will never know the child who would have been his younger brother. He said Nathan would be reminded of his mother at every birthday and every time he looks at his Aunt Danielle.
“When the trials began, I explained to the Kitterman family three things about them,” Huffman said. “Number one was that they likely wouldn’t have any sense of justice because they can never get Michelle back. Number two was they will likely never have closure because we don’t forget about our loved one and we don’t want anyone else to forget about them either. Finally, I told them they likely will never find out why this all happened because only Lacey and her associates know the complete story. One major thing that happens today is this process comes to an end and will give the family an opportunity to proceed with their grieving.”
Hirst-Pavek was given an opportunity to speak before being sentenced, but did not take it. After Hotchkiss handed down a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for her conviction of aggravated murder in the first degree and 126 months in prison for her conviction of aggravated manslaughter in the first degree and her attorney, Ron Hammett, requested a restitution hearing, he spoke directly to Hirst-Pavek.
“I don’t know what to say,” he said. “I don’t really understand any of this. As harsh as the sentence you’ve received, it is nothing to the sentence you’ve brought down on your family and the Kitterman family.”