News and Press Releases

United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington

Lummi Tribal Member Pleads Guilty To Voluntary Manslaughter

Killed Infant Child During Rage Over Crying

November 29, 2012

            An enrolled member of the Lummi Tribe pleaded guilty earlier this week in U.S. District Court in Seattle to Voluntary Manslaughter for the death of his six month old daughter.  LAWRENCE V. TOM, JR., 23, faces a maximum ten year prison term when he is sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman on March 8, 2013.  Both prosecutors and TOM’s attorneys will recommend Judge Pechman impose the maximum ten year sentence.

            According to the plea agreement, on May 10, 2012, TOM was home alone with his infant daughter as well as his 18-month-old daughter when he became frustrated with the infant’s crying.  TOM squeezed the infant’s head between his right bicep and forearm, causing a traumatic brain injury.  Early on May 13, TOM asked neighbors to call 9-1-1 saying his infant daughter had stopped breathing. The child died from skull fractures and brain bleeding.

            The case was investigated by the FBI and the Lummi Tribal Police Department.  The Lummi Nation is a self-governing, federally recognized Indian Tribe.  The Lummis are the third largest tribe in Washington State, serving over 5,000 members whose median age is 29 years old.  The Lummi Tribal Police Department has approximately 20 commissioned officers and is recognized for its responsive law enforcement services.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys J. Tate London and Susan Roe.  Mr. London serves as the Tribal Liaison for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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