Kristina M. Lamberson

Elwood man kills wife, self

March 3, 2008

An estranged Elwood couple is dead after a man gunned down his wife late Sunday and then turned the weapon on himself, apparently while their 4-year-old daughter was in the home where the shootings took place.

Marian Dunnichay, Madison County chief deputy coroner, said 26-year-old Kristina M. Lamberson died of a single gunshot wound to the head. Her death has been ruled a homicide. Dunnichay ruled the death of Robert W. Lamberson, 26, a suicide, also caused by a single gunshot wound to the head.

According to Elwood police, Kristina’s 4-year-old daughter called her aunt, April Thompson, shortly before 11:30 p.m. and told the woman her mother wasn’t responsive. Thompson then called 911, telling dispatchers the girl told her “her mommy needed help and that they needed to come right now,” according to a news release.

“She thought her mommy was dead and could not get her up,” Thompson also told dispatchers, according to the release.

When police arrived at Kristina’s apartment at 1647 Main St. they immediately smelled gunpowder, and quickly discovered the two dead in a bedroom. Robert was lying dead on the floor with a shotgun underneath him. Kristina was found dead next to the bed.

Initially, the 4-year-old girl couldn’t get the apartment’s door open, and officers had to force their way inside. The girl was not injured, and is being cared for by relatives.

“The little girl was smart, God love her,” Police Chief Jack Miller said Monday.

Miller said the apartment where the shooting took place was Kristina’s apartment. Robert had been staying at a home in the 2200 block of South B Street.

Dunnichay said a limited autopsy was performed on the two Monday at Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Court records revealed that Kristina and Robert shared a short, unhappy marriage.

The couple married Aug. 23, but separated the day after Christmas. Kristina, who also has an 8-year-old son, filed for divorce Jan. 15, two days after Elwood police arrested the couple near the intersection of Main and Anderson streets on misdemeanor public intoxication charges.

According to the probable cause affidavit in that case:

At about 12:30 a.m. on Jan. 13, Officer Andy McGuire found the couple arguing near the intersection of Main and Anderson. Both smelled of alcohol and were given a portable breath analysis test. The test determined both were above Indiana’s legal limit of 0.08 percent.

While McGuire was arresting Robert, he yelled that Kristina had pills in her back pocket. McGuire found two hydrocodone pills on Kristina. She admitted she didn’t have a prescription for the pain medication, but said Robert had given them to her. Kristina was also charged with possession of a controlled substance, a Class D felony.

What the couple had been arguing about at the time of their arrest wasn’t included in the affidavit. But according to a restraining order Kristina got against Robert the same day she filed for divorce, the two had been arguing at Sam’s Wonder Bar the day before they were arrested. Robert had threatened to hurt Kristina, and used vulgarities to describe her children.

It wasn’t the first time he verbally abused her, according to the restraining order. On Dec. 22 along South B Street, Robert cursed at Kristina and pushed her into some mud. On New Year’s Eve, also at Sam’s Wonder Bar, Robert spit in Kristina’s face.

The restraining order, issued through Madison Superior Court 1, was in effect when he called Kristina’s cell phone several times recently and left messages. Elwood police arrested him for invasion of privacy, a Class A misdemeanor, at about 6:30 a.m. Saturday, for violating the restraining order. Kristina contacted police and an officer recognized Robert’s voice on a message, Miller said.

Robert was allowed to post 10 percent of his $3,000 bond, signed a no-contact order and was released from a holding cell at the Elwood Police Department at about 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Miller said.

On Monday, Elwood City Court Judge Kyle Noone said Elwood police should have waited 24 hours to release Robert, even though he had enough money to post bond.

Under Noone’s standing court order, anyone arrested on suspicion of committing a crime involving a domestic partner is to be held for a day so they can cool off. The crimes include domestic battery, intimidation, criminal recklessness and invasion of privacy, among others.

Miller said his department didn’t violate Noone’s standing order. He said it didn’t fall under the court’s order because the original restraining order was filed in Madison Superior Court 1, and not Elwood City Court.

Noone said that because the invasion of privacy charge was filed in his court, the standing order requiring the 24-hour hold applied.

“I expect every law enforcement agency to follow my standing order,” Noone said.


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