Accomplice to 1991 murder receives new sentence, now eligible for parole

LANCASTER, P.A. --- Tabatha Buck, who is currently serving a life sentence for aiding Lisa Michelle Lambert in the killing of Laurie Show in 1991, will now be eligible for parole.

Judge Dennis Reinaker re-sentenced Buck to 28 years to life Monday morning.

However, Buck will receive credit for the nearly 26 years she's served, meaning she'll be eligible for parole in a little over two years.

Buck was sentenced to life in prison at the age of 17 for helping Lambert, who was 19 at the time, stab, strangle and beat Show, 16, in Show's East Lampeter condominium in 1991.

A 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling made it unconstitutional to sentence juveniles to life sentences without the opportunity for parole.

That gave Buck the opportunity for a new sentence.

Her defense argued Buck has served numerous jobs at Muncy State Prison while also pursuing education, including getting a GED and certificates in construction and accounting.

"I think she's been a model prisoner," said Chris Lyden, the court-appointed attorney representing Buck.

Her defense also showed she has only minor infractions on her disciplinary record while incarcerated.

"She doesn't present herself as the kind of person you would expect to be in the situation that she's in," said Lyden.

In court, Show's mother, Hazel Whitehead, read a statement to Judge Reinaker but directed the words to Buck.

She called Buck the "snake hiding in the grass" for luring Show to the door and allowing Michelle Lambert access to their home.

She asked Buck "why did she need to come to their home?" while also saying Buck is accomplishing goals, such as an education and making friends, while Show cannot.

Judge Reinaker said Buck "played an active role" in the murder, while also stating she appears to have a good family upbringing and bears more of an individual responsibility than other juvenile offenders before giving his sentence.

"I think the best possible outcome would've been a time-served sentence, would've been 25 years. On the other hand, it could've been higher," said Lyden.

Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman was critical of the U.S Supreme Court decision allowing for juveniles serving life to get the opportunity for a new sentence.

He said its "re-opens the wounds" of family members.

"Their surviving family members were told the sentence was final, and a case like this, the sentence was life without parole. You have to have some finality in the justice system to have people believe in it," said Stedman.

In court, Judge Reinaker asked Buck if she has any thoughts on what happened that day.

Buck said she "thinks about it all the time" and she can't imagine how both families feel about the re-sentencing.

Stedman and prosecutors criticized Buck for showing no sign of remorse.

"How about sorry? You've had plenty of time to think about this and...You're getting a chance, another chance at it...And even if the words weren't hollow, at least for the family members, come out and apologize," said Stedman.

Another hearing will determine if Buck will receive parole.

In court, Buck's family said they're planning to move Buck to Oregon if she were to be granted release.

Stedman said that is important to Show's family, who, he said, had concerns of seeing Buck at "the grocery store or the movies."

Lambert, who is currently serving a life sentence for the murder of Show, is not eligible for the same re-sentencing, given her age of 19 at the time of the murder.