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Press Release

Lummi Tribal Member Sentenced to 97 Months in Prison for Voluntary Manslaughter

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
Killed Infant Child During Rage Over Crying

An enrolled member of the Lummi Tribe was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 97 months in prison for Voluntary Manslaughter in the death of his six month old daughter, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. LAWRENCE V. TOM, JR., 23, pleaded guilty in November 2012.  In addition, Chief U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman imposed three years of supervised release.

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.

In asking for a ten year sentence, prosecutors wrote to the court the infant “suffered greatly in her home for several days before Defendant sought medical care for her.  When first confronted about his daughter’s injuries, Defendant lied in an attempt to cover up his violent act against his daughter.  In short, the nature and circumstances of Defendant’s conduct, the seriousness of the offense, and the goals of general and specific deterrence warrant the imposition of a 120-month custodial sentence.”

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 Attorney J. Tate London.  Mr. London has served as the Tribal Liaison for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Updated March 24, 2015