KINGMAN, Ariz. — Kimberly Lane, a 16-year-old runaway from Lancaster, dropped her head and cried as a jury handed down guilty verdicts at the end of her triple-murder trial here Thursday.
Three female members of the jury also wept, one of them sobbing uncontrollably, as Lane was convicted on three counts of first-degree murder, conspiracy and armed robbery in the deaths of an Arizona family in August 1996.
One juror, an elderly woman who declined to identify herself, said the trial and deliberations that stretched for more than eight hours over two days had been an exhausting ordeal for the eight-man, four-woman panel.
"This was the most difficult thing that anybody could have ever possibly had to go through," she said. "But the facts were the facts."
"It took us quite a while to come to the conclusion . . . because we wanted to make sure," juror Mike Samiac said. "I feel the verdict was just."
Lane is the third defendant to be convicted of murder during separate trials in the deaths of Robert Delahunt, 15, his mother, Leta Kagen, 37, and her boyfriend Roland Wear, 50.
The state is seeking death sentences for co-defendants Frank Anderson, 50, of Lancaster, and Robert "Bobby" Poyson, 21, a drifter who had been staying with Kagen during the winter of 1996.
Lane was 14 at the time of the slayings and will not face the death penalty because of her age, though she could be sentenced to life in prison. Her sentencing is scheduled for June 25.
Lane spent more than a day on the witness stand last week, telling the jury she was the victim of an abusive father and a troubled childhood. Those reasons, she testified, led her to flee her Lancaster mobile home with Anderson, the manager of the mobile home park, who she said boasted of Mafia ties and promised her a better life in Chicago.
Lane testified she had sex with Anderson on the second day of the journey, which eventually led them to Arizona.
The couple met Poyson in Nevada, Lane said, and Poyson drove them to Kagen's shabby white travel trailer, anchored on the outskirts of the remote desert community of Golden Valley.
Prosecutors said Lane was annoyed by life in the unkempt trailer, which lacked running water and electricity, and said Lane suggested that Anderson and Poyson kill the family, steal Wear's pickup truck, and go to Chicago.
Prosecutor Derek Carlisle played for the jury a taped interview that Lane gave police shortly after the slayings. "Yeah, I said, 'Why don't we just kill them and take the truck,' " Lane states on the tape.
That statement and others she made during the interview proved decisive in the case, said Lane's attorney, Larry Rosenthal.
"The statement was something I knew [the jury] considered very carefully," Rosenthal said.
Carlisle, the prosecutor, agreed.
"I think that probably the key was her statements to the police and then her statements in trial," Carlisle said. "They didn't match up."
During the trial, Carlisle had argued that Lane was a willing participant in the murder plot, and had purposefully distracted young Delahunt by kissing him inside a camp trailer, allowing, he said, Anderson to surprise the boy from behind and slit his throat.
During his trial, Poyson testified he and Anderson battered the boy with rocks and their fists for more than half an hour. Finally, with Anderson holding him down, Poyson used a rock to hammer a knife into Delahunt's ear and through his skull, according to testimony at the two earlier trials.
Lane was the one who provided the rock, but she testified she did so only when ordered by Anderson and Poyson, whom she claimed had threatened her life before the bloodshed began. Lane was not involved in the subsequent slayings of Kagen and Wear.
Authorities said Anderson held a lantern "illuminating the target," allowing Poyson to fatally shoot Kagen while she lay in bed and then shoot Wear in the cheek. Wear rose to battle his attackers but was killed by Poyson, who used a cinder-block to crush his skull "like an eggshell," in the words of the county medical examiner.
Lane, Poyson and Anderson loaded Wear's pickup truck with a stereo, tools and a lantern and fled.
Anderson was caught in a routine traffic stop in Anna, Ill., driving the truck, which had been reported stolen. Poyson and Lane were captured at a homeless shelter in Evanston, Ill., where they had registered as a married couple.
Times staff writer Claire Vitucci contributed to this story.