LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. -- A woman who had been serving a life sentence for murder in Lancaster County could be out of prison by the end of December.
Tabitha Buck was 17 when she was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for her role in the 1991 murder of 16-year-old Laurie Show at Show's condo in East Lampeter Township.
After a resentencing hearing at Lancaster County Courthouse in late 2017, Tabitha Buck learned she would become eligible for parole in just a few years.
It came after a Supreme Court ruling deemed life sentences for juveniles without the possibility of parole as cruel and unconstitutional.
Once serving a life sentence for her role in the 1991 murder of Laurie Show, some would say fate has changed for Tabitha Buck, who is now 45.
Buck could be getting out of SCI Muncy before Christmas.
“The supreme court's decision is the only reason this woman is now eligible for parole because it was deemed cruel and unusual," explained Lt. Governor John Fetterman.
"If she was 18, a few months older, her only option would be commutation," explained Fetterman.
"Their surviving family members were told the sentence was final, and a case like this, the sentence was life without parole, and you have to have some finality in the justice system to have people believe in it," said Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman after the hearing in 2017.
Now, more than two years later, Stedman's opinion hasn’t changed.
In a statement to Fox43, Stedman said: "The resentencings of juvenile murderers has been one of the most difficult and gut-wrenching tasks we have ever had to handle. Our system told victims’ families their case was over, and in many cases, for decades. The courts ruled, and we follow the law, but that in no way diminishes the added emotional trauma this process has caused to those who have already suffered. Most of all, we must remember the innocent victims, whose lives were taken, have no ability to appeal or receive a new sentence."
Show was 16 when Lisa Michelle Lambert killed her in her East Lampeter Condo on December 20th, 1991.
Prior to the brutal murder, Lambert had been harassing Show. The morning of the killing, Lambert and Buck tricked Show’s mother into leaving the house. Buck lured Show to open the front door. Lambert then repeatedly stabbed Show while Buck held down her legs. Show’s mother said her daughter fought for her life.
"It just seems to be an endless stream of pain that they have to suffer," said Stedman in 2017.
We did reach out to Buck's attorney for comment, but he was not available Wednesday afternoon.
Pennsylvania's Board of Probation and Parole stated a few reasons for her release, including, positive behavior in prison, a positive recommendation made by the department of corrections, participation in prison programs, reports, evaluations and assessments/level of risk indicating Buck's risk to the community, Buck's demonstrated motivation for success, Buck's acceptance of responsibility for the offense(s) committed, expressed remorse, and the development of a parole release plan.
The parole plan is as follows:
- Buck must maintain a job approved by parole supervision staff.
- Buck cannot have direct or indirect contact or associate with anyone who sells or uses drugs, outside of a treatment setting, or possess drug paraphernalia.
- Must attend and complete all treatment recommended
- Must achieve negative results in drug screenings, and Buck is responsible for all screening costs
- Buck must take psychotropic medication, if prescribed by her doctor
- She cannot directly or indirectly contact Show's family, including correspondence, telephone contact, or communication through third parties
- Buck cannot live or travel to Lancaster County, for any reason