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Prosecutors won’t seek death penalty for Lord

PORT ORCHARD––In a surprise announcement in Superior Court Friday afternoon, the Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office announced that it will not seek the death penalty against Brian Keith Lord. Lord is accused of the murder nearly 16 years ago of North Kitsap 15-year old Tracey Parker.

Lord, dressed in a jail uniform and restrained, was present in Judge Karlynn Haberly’s courtroom for the announcement. He sat quietly and appeared to be relaxed during the proceedings.

Peter Camiel, a defense attorney for Lord, said, “It was a surprise to us, but it’s the right decision.” Camiel added that there is evidence to suggest that Lord is not guilty and that there are serious problems with the prosecution’s case.

Charles Parker, the victim’s father, expressed his disappointment with the prosecutor’s decision, “I think they’ve rewarded him by not seeking the death penalty.”

In a prepared statement, Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hauge said that “we take this step because we want this trial to be the last time we have to see this defendant.”

In a lengthy statement explaining the decision, Hauge said “since the remand of the Lord case to his office, the prosecutors have litigated it hard and well. They have already put in thousands of hours to prosecute the case.”

Hauge is confident they can convict Lord of aggravated first degree murder for the killing of Parker. The goal, according to Hauge, is to imprison Lord for the rest of his life without the possibility of parole.

As the years since the crime have passed, it has become increasingly difficult to locate witnesses and their recollections would have faded, Hauge explained..

“This far removed in time from the crime,” Hauge’s statement said, “and on the state of the record of the case to date, we have decided that it would be in the best interests of justice and the community to forego seeking that punishment.”

Lord was convicted of aggravated first degree murder of Parker on July 17, 1987. The same jury that convicted Lord determined that he should receive the death penalty.

However, 12 years later, a federal appeals court reversed the jury’s verdict and ordered that Lord receive a new trial. Lord’s retrial is set to begin Sept. 23—almost exactly 16 years after Tracey Parker’s murder on Sept. 16, 1986.

Amy Crumley contributed to this story.

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