(KMSP) - Nathan Lehman of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, has been sentenced to 61 years in prison for the murder of his parents.
Lehman, 38, was sentenced to 367 months for the murder of his mother and another 367 months for the murder of his father, to be served consecutively. According to the Hennepin County attorney's office, Lehman rejected the county prosecutor’s offer of just over 40 years in prison, which took into account his mental illness, but also his obvious danger to public safety.
Instead, Lehman made a straight plea, meaning the two sides argued what the sentence should be.
During his guilty plea, Lehman agreed that there were aggravating circumstances in his crime which would allow the judge to sentence him to a term higher than that recommended by the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines.
Those factors are the particular cruelty of the murders—stabbing his parents multiple times with screwdrivers—and committing the crime in their zone of safety, their own bathroom.
A court psychiatrist determined that while Lehman did suffer from mental illness, he understood at the time he killed his parents that it was wrong and that he was able to understand and aid in his criminal defense.
After listening to relatives' impact statements and reviewing the detailed investigation, the judge pointed out to Lehman that over the years, he refused to accept the help that was repeatedly offered him for his mental illness.
According to the criminal complaint, Lehman had a history of police contacts for mental health problems, methamphetamine addiction and assaults on his parents. He had left their house in late April and, at the time, had not been following the orders of his mental health caseworkers.
Lehman's parents reported him missing on May 8. Eden Prairie police were sent to the Lehman home on May 25 when Lehman's father did not show up for work. Police found the parents in the upstairs bathroom, dead from apparent stab wounds and other injuries.