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It Took Me Years to Report My Sexual Assault, but My Story Still Matters

Woman Released 18 Years After Killing Abusive Father

The story of Stacey Lannert, a woman who killed her sexually abusive father, has got me thinking about whether women should get a break for killing men who have abused them.

Stacey Lannert killed her father 18 years ago when she was only 18 years old. She was sentenced to life in prison without parole, after prosecutors alleged that she murdered her father because she wanted his money. Lannert's attorneys argued that her father sexually abused her, beginning when she was 8 years old, but the jury could not take this into account.

Earlier this year, then Missouri governor Matt Blunt commuted Stacey's sentence to 20 years, before leaving office, and she has since been released. The governor said he commuted the sentence because Stacey suffered extensive abuse before she killed the man who raped her and subjected her to other horrible physical and emotional abuses.

Do you think sexual abuse on account of a murder victim should be a reason for reducing a murder's sentence?

To see Stacey speak about her plans,



Join The Conversation
zeze zeze 8 years
I can't really sign on to letting her abuse play a part when it had nothing to do with her guilt/innocence/responsibility - while I totally understand your reasoning I just disagree. It seems like dangerous territory to say "well she did something bad, but had good reasons" or "she did something bad, but the SOB deserved it" - that type of logic would mean poor people who steal should get a lesser punishment than rich people because they were raised in the ghettos and were starving, or stealing from an embezzler should be a lighter crime than stealing from an 80 year old widow. It makes it all very subjective to things that have nothing to do with the act of taking another life with prior intent.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 8 years
Zeze- I think we're coming from the same place, I also agree that even rapists should not be killed in retribution, this is what our criminal justice system is supposed to be for! Vigilantism should have no place in our society. My mind immediately jumps to lynchings in the South in the 40's when I think of "vigilantism." And I don't think this woman should have been completely excused from her crime, like she would have been if she'd been acting in self defense. However, the circumstances of her crime should have been considered for sentencing purposes, even if they had nothing to do with guilt/innocence. While she killed a man and was guilty of that crime, a sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole is an extremely harsh and enters into the realm of cruel and unusual to give to a young 18 year old who had been sexually abused by this man since she was a young child. That is a total failure of the system- you are throwing away a woman's life because she acted against her abuser after ten years of abuse! You are giving her a sentence that is far harsher than what many murderers get. If you kill someone while driving drunk, you'll probably only get 4 years. Her sentence was commuted to 20 years, she wasn't absolved of her crimes. That is more than enough of a punishment for someone who was the victim of horrible abuse. She has spent more time in jail now than she has even been alive. She already had her childhood stolen from her, and now she's lost a great deal of her adulthood. It's just a sad story.
zeze zeze 8 years
Same concept, even if is not the same type of justification. Think of situations where a mom finds out a teacher has been molesting her son/daughter and decides he should die, or a woman being raped and going after the rapist 2 weeks late - that type of reaction is not okay! Yes it is sad what happened to these people, but there is a legal system in place to fight for their justice and they need to follow that system whenever possible - even if it not perfect, because the alternative, vigilantism (thanks Kim) is a scary prospect.
austerity austerity 8 years
Zeze; Revenge killings are committed for all kinds of banal reasons, one of them being 'family honor'. I think you can hardly compare this motivation to 'your father raping you during childhood'.
geebers geebers 8 years
I understand your point Zeze and in most cases I would agree with you. But in this case it is clear that the "police and the system in place" did NOT deal with this and she was left with what she felt was the last resort. I don't blame her.
clarabelle98 clarabelle98 8 years
Has anyone ever seen the book my John Grisham called "A time to kill"? Well, in that a man murders the two boys that severely raped and injured his young daughter. When asked why he did it, he replied "Because they needed killin'" - Seems like a good response to me. I have no compassion for rapists. I don't want MY tax dollars going to pay for a roof over their heads and food in their bellies. So yeah, in cases of rape I DO think Murder is a good solution.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 8 years
so you're talking more of a vigilante type thing? I get it now. Thanks for clarifying.
zeze zeze 8 years
Kim, I think you are missing my point, I apologize for not being more clear. What I was referring to by "taking matters into their own hands" is when people go beyond self-defense and ignore the legal system in place ans start administering justice by their own accord. "He hurt me, he deserves to die" scenarios is what I am talking about. So basically 1st degree murder, where someone is not in a self-defense moment, and they choose to plan and plot a murder rather than seeking help from police and the system that is in place to deal with these problems.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 8 years
But we can take matters into our own hands in our civilized world. In situations where we're being attacked, or we witness someone else being attacked, or robbed etc. In many states if someone enters your home and is attacking you or your family, you can defend yourself using firearms (or not). People take self defense classes as a measure to be able to defend themselves (or take matters into their own hands) if someone comes after them. Or am I missing your point, Zeze? Or perhaps it's more of an issue of "how" you take matters into your own hands? Because isn't just stepping in and saying something to someone taking matters into your own hands? Or even just calling the police on a situation, couldn't that be a way of taking matters into your own hands? I think I might be missing something. And I'm not trying to be snarky, I'm genuinely trying to understand where you're coming from.
zeze zeze 8 years
I see your point Snow, but I just don't like the idea that if something really bad happens to you then you can take matters into your own hands. That's not the policy of a civilized world. I do think abuse can make you and irrational actor and therefore you should not be held to the higher standard of a rational actor, but those actions should not be justified.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 8 years
Zeze- I agree with your overall point, and I am actually interning in the DA's office and do have a prosecutor's viewpoint. However, 15+ years seems like way more than adequate a sentence because of the circumstances. We sometimes forget just how long 15 or 18 years of someone's life actually is- this this woman missed all of her 20's and most of her 30's! And as far as worry that a "lighter" 15 year sentence is not enough of a deterrent, odds are that anyone else that is in her position is not thinking clearly about penalties/sentences, and is acting out of emotion and from a very dark, horribly sad place. They aren't thinking about a case like this, they are really acting in the moment. And if someone fakes an "I was abused" defense to get a lighter sentence, they are still subject to the factfinder's (jury usually) determinations of whether the abuse actually took place. White collar crime is a good example of where prison sentences have a huge deterrent effect, because those criminals are weighing the pros/cons very rationally of undergoing whatever economic schemes they are considering. I think 5-15 years (depending on the exact circumstances) is more than enough time to get this woman counseling, in-jail education, and determine whether she can participate in society again. In this case, a little empathy won't hurt anyone. A 20 year sentence is more than adequate, and I'm glad this governor is not going to make her serve life without parole!
zeze zeze 8 years
I think people are thinking too emotionally and not thinking about the integrity of the law. If she was abused for years, and remained sane (or sane enough) to plot and murder him while he was not a threat, then she committed murder and should face the consequences. To say otherwise is to support revenge-killings.
KimBurnett KimBurnett 8 years
The devasting trauma that her father inflicted on her is an excuse for anyone to commit murder. I'd like to kill him.
Grandpa Grandpa 8 years
Yes, murder is murder, but not all killings are murder. Even when murder is murder their are mitigating circumstances, which is why we have manslaughter, 2nd degree murder, and 1st degree, not to mention the insanity defence.
austerity austerity 8 years
I'm not going to play the moral angel here. Evil people such as this man who did this to his own daughter, give up the rights normal human beings have. I also think we cannot say stuff like 'murder is murder' unless WE have endured sexual abuse from our own fathers! Please imagine! Also if that Austrian lady who was so brutally tortured by her father ever tortured him back, who in their right mind would stop her?? These people are the devil incarnate, so please realize that 'human rights' etc. apply to humans, not devils!
lickety-split lickety-split 8 years
if the dad did those things to her, i don't think she should have gone to jail at all. i do however support the death penalty for rapists, so looks like as far as her dad was concerned; justice was served.
fuzzles fuzzles 8 years
Well said, as always, Grandpa.
Grandpa Grandpa 8 years
This woman has served half her life in prison, missing the best years of her life. Whatever the motivation, justice has been served long ago.
kurniakasih kurniakasih 8 years
I didn't know of this case, thanks for explaining, wackdoddle. She's served 18 years and since sexual abuse is the cause of the murder, it is only right that her sentence be reduced. I've read people murdering others and gotten out way before 18 years.
brookrene brookrene 8 years
Yes! Sexual abuse is definitely a reason to reduce a sentence if the abuser was killed by the abused.
meringue meringue 8 years
Absolutely...regardless of being in prison, this woman will suffer the rest of her life because of this horrible man. It is a disgrace that no one did anything! For victims of abuse the trama is so great and they often are led to feel that they caused it or that it is their fault. SO, for the courts to then punish her further is horrendous!!! I certainly hope she can now seek some help and lead a somewhat normal life...
stephley stephley 8 years
Nice job Wack.
Michaelrcks Michaelrcks 8 years
Perhaps - cases must be looked at on an individual basis.
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