Laurie Show was a 16-year-old sophomore at Conestoga Valley High School who was stalked by her classmates and murdered on December 20, 1991, in the United States. Her body was discovered in her Lancaster, Pennsylvania home by her mother Hazel Show with her throat having been slit.[2] Her classmates Lisa Michelle Lambert, Tabitha Buck, and Lawrence "Butch" Yunkin were all subsequently charged with her murder.

Murder of Laurie Show
DateDecember 20, 1991 (1991-12-20)
Location92 Black Oak Drive, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, U.S.
ParticipantsLisa Michelle Lambert
Tabitha Buck
Lawrence "Butch" Yunkin
DeathsLaurie Michelle Show[1]

Stalking and murder


Lambert initially began harassing Show in 1991, after learning that Show had briefly dated Yunkin over the summer. Lambert and Yunkin had a previous relationship, but had reportedly not been dating during the time Yunkin was dating Show. Show and Yunkin had gone on a few dates, with Show reporting to her mother that Yunkin had date raped her.[3] Shortly after his final date with Show, Yunkin resumed dating Lambert, who was pregnant with his child. Reported to be "obsessively jealous" of Show, Lambert proceeded to harass Show in various ways, such as appearing at Show's job and verbally assaulting her. Tabitha Buck herself had a handful of altercations with Laurie Show. Buck, while at a mall, saw Laurie, ran up to her and began punching her repeatedly. Another attack on Laurie occurred at their high school and another at a fireman's ball, when Buck jumped out of a moving vehicle and ran towards Laurie Show, intending to fight her. Lambert was very upset that Laurie was now dating her ex-boyfriend and that Laurie was spreading rumors about Buck, Lamberts friend, being gay. Tabitha Buck was also the one individual out of the three (Lambert, Yunkin, Buck) who knew what time the school bus came, what classes Laurie had, who Laurie's guidance counselor was, how long it would take Laurie's mother to leave their home to get to the high school. Tabitha Buck was also the only one who had the opportunity to get Laurie's new phone number out of the emergency contact sheet at their high school.[4] Witnesses reported that Lambert had expressed an intent to "scare Laurie, then hurt her, then slit her throat".[5]

The night before the murder, Lawrence Yunkin drove Lisa to Kmart where Lisa went into store and purchased rope, hats and gloves which were taken to the crime scene with them the following morning.

On December 20, 1991, Laurie Show was discovered, fatally wounded, in her home by her mother. Police later recorded that Show had received "a five-inch gash to the throat; a stab wound that punctured a lung and another that grazed her spine; several wounds to the head; and over 28 defensive wounds". An autopsy showed that Show's left common carotid artery had been severed. [6] Hazel Show was not at home at the time of the attack, having been duped by the killers into going to the high school to speak to a guidance counselor.[7] Show's mother reported to the police that her daughter had named Lambert as her killer, saying, "Michelle did it". Shortly after, Show bled to death. [8]

Police arrested Lisa Michelle Lambert, Lawrence Yunkin, and Tabitha Buck at a local bowling alley later that day for the murder of Show. While in custody, the police took notice of Buck's many fresh scratch marks on her face and shoulders, as well as a few wounds on Yunkin. For such a violent crime against Laurie Show, all three suspects should have had defensive wounds but Lisa Lambert had none. [9] Also found in Tabitha Buck’s purse was Laurie's make up of a powder compact and blue mascara that she stole while fleeing the crime scene. Initial statements from the three claimed that Yunkin had dropped Lambert and Buck off at Show's house, where the two girls murdered Show. Yunkin stated that he had not participated in the murder, and that, while he was aware that Lambert and Buck planned to cut Show's hair with the knife as a prank, he did provide them with an alibi, as well as helping to dispose of evidence.[10] Lambert and Buck would later recant their initial statements, with Lambert claiming that an abusive Yunkin had encouraged her to harass and assault Show.[6]

1992 trials


Lambert, Buck, and Yunkin were each tried in Lancaster County for the murder of Laurie Show. Yunkin agreed to testify against Lambert, stating that she and Buck had slit Show's throat after the two had punctured one of Show's lungs.[11] A pair of sweatpants Lambert had worn during the crime were entered into evidence by the prosecution, as Show's blood was present on them.[12] Another exhibit was a letter from Lambert to Yunkin, in which Lambert states, "I know I'm not an angel, but Lawrence, I never got mad enough to kill."[11]



Lambert was convicted on July 20, 1992 of first-degree murder and criminal conspiracy in the death of Show.[13] Buck was convicted of similar charges. Both young women were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.[14] At her trial Tabitha Buck now claimed that she didn't participate in the murder of Laurie Show at all. While Buck’s lawyer was making his closing statement he was holding up Tabitha Buck’s starter jacket to show the jury and unbeknownst to him inside the pocket of Tabitha's starter jacket was the missing piece of the knife that broke off during the homicide.

Lambert was initially incarcerated at Cambridge Springs State Correctional Institution, while Buck was sent to Muncy State Correctional Institution.[15] Yunkin received a sentence of 10 to 20 years. His deal for hindering apprehension was pulled after he was caught lying about a letter between himself and Lambert where he asked her to cover and lie for him. The prosecutor Jack Kenneff, also Lambert's prosecutor during her trial, hired a FBI handwriting expert to verify the letter's authenticity, which led to Yunkin's deal being pulled. The prosecutor never took remedial measures on behalf of Lambert and never told the court that his star witness,Lawrence Yunkin, was lying. Yunkin was granted parole on his third try and was released in 2003.[16]

1997 re-trial


Lambert appealed the 1992 conviction, and in 1997, appeared in court for a federal habeas corpus hearing.[12] U.S. District Judge Stewart Dalzell presided over the trial. Lambert's lawyers claimed several inconsistencies with the evidence and testimony given in the earlier trial and that Lambert was innocent. Lambert claimed she had been framed by Lancaster police officers to keep her from coming forward with charges that they had gang-raped her.[17]

Among the evidence provided at the hearing were the sweatpants entered into the 1992 proceeding, which belonged to Lawrence Yunkin; during the 1992 trial it was argued by the state that Lambert had worn the clothing in question during the murder. A set of clothing belonging to belong to Lambert that the defense stated were worn by her during the night in question were submitted during the re-trial, which contained no traces of blood or evidence she was involved with the murder. Other evidence included correspondence between her and Yunkin where Yunkin confirmed that he and Buck killed Show and that they wanted Lambert to take the blame, as she would have received less prison time because she is female.[18]

Per the Los Angeles Times, the police and prosecutors repeatedly contradicted themselves and their story and presented evidence that Dalzell felt had been tampered with and edited by the state to ensure a conviction against Lambert. One officer claimed to have not found a pink trash bag containing Yunkin's bloody socks and sneakers whereas the defense produced a video of the same officer finding the pink bag in question. Dalzell was also informed about how part of an earring belonging to Yunkin was discovered on Show's body and was lost by the state.[18]

Show's mother, Hazel, approached Dalzell in his chambers on April 16, 1997, telling him that she had seen Yunkin at the crime scene on the morning of the murder and that she had informed the police and prosecutor multiple times. She was told by the police and prosecutor not to worry about this or her neighbor's statement, as they felt the neighbor would not be a reliable witness for the state. The neighbor's statement that she had seen Lawrence Yunkin and his car fleeing the crime scene was withheld from Lambert's original trial lawyers. On April 16, 1997, Judge Dalzell released Lisa Michelle Lambert into the custody of her attorneys while her hearing took place. Lisa Michelle Lambert's conviction was overturned and she was found innocent on all counts on April 21, 1997, with Judge Dalzell citing that "prosecutorial misconduct" had resulted in an incorrect ruling.[6]

Dalzell also barred the state of Pennsylvania from re-trying Lambert.[12] Dalzell's ruling was later overturned in January 1998 by a federal appeals panel that stated that Lambert had "not yet exhausted her appeals in state court" and Lambert was taken back to prison.[19]

1998 appeal


After Dalzell's ruling was overturned, the federal court system debated whether to keep Lambert in jail or to uphold Dalzell's verdict.[20] Lambert filed an appeal for a hearing over the second overturning of the verdict, but was denied.[21] In February 1998, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court returned the case to the Lancaster County Court system, stating that Lambert "must first take up her claims [there]".[22] The third hearing took place in May 1998, with a federal appeals court agreed to temporarily free Lambert under the belief that she would win her case. The attorney general then filed a petition to stop Lambert's temporary release.[23] The Third Circuit Court then agreed to release Lambert on a $1,000,000 bond, which was again stopped by the attorney general. Judge Lawrence F. Stengel, who was Lambert's trial judge in 1992, oversaw the trial.[24] Judge Lawrence Stengel then appointed himself as Chief fact finder, and would not allow all the evidence from the federal hearing to come in. Judge Stengel also refused to allow Lambert's attorneys to put in the exact same evidence in the federal hearing. Judge Stengel also placed a gag order on all involved, after the press starting asking a lot of questions about the obvious abuse of power from the state and Lambert's lawyers told the A.P. to imprison an innocent woman because it saves the county money is unconscionable and it raises the level of misconduct to the present proceedings to a previously unimaginable all time high.

Lambert testified that Yunkin had participated in the murders, choking Show. She also stated that she had attempted to help defend Show against the other two assailants and that she had tried to pull the victim out of the apartment.[25] Limited Evidence from the 1997 hearing was presented again. The defense argued that Lambert had not participated in the act, that she had been sent out of the room by Yunkin, and that Lambert had unquestioningly obeyed Yunkin’s orders due to battered woman syndrome.[25] A previous boyfriend of Lambert's confirmed that he had witnessed Yunkin "yank [Lambert] into a room", at which point Yunkin began yelling at her.[26] He also testified that he had seen a police officer, who matched one of the descriptions Lambert gave of her alleged rapists, give her a "threatening glare" at a local festival.[26]

Lambert's lawyers presented correspondence between Lambert and Yunkin that they claimed proved that Lambert had not been involved in the murder and that Yunkin had asked her to lie for him.[27] They also questioned whether or not Show would have been able to speak to her mother before her death, as her throat had been cut, and alleged that Show had written out the initials of her murderers, Buck and Yunkin.[27]

Buck denied these claims, testifying that Lambert had actively participated in the murder, and that she had instructed Buck to "wear her hair up and not to wear make-up or fingernail polish".[6][28] Yunkin was later brought to the stand, and the sweatpants that had been alleged to be his in the 1997 trial were produced. Yunkin was ordered to hold the sweatpants up against his body, which were shown to be too short for him, as well as being made of a different fabric from the garment entered into evidence in the 1992 trial.[29] A relative of Yunkin provided a poem written by Lambert said to be written in jail that was said to described the murder but it was found that the poem was an old poem typed during a typing class writing found in Lawrence and Lisa's home after their arrest.[6]

In August 1998, Judge Stengel announced his verdict, stating he would uphold the original guilty verdict against Lambert, and that "even if he believed [her] story ... [she] would still be guilty of first-degree murder as an accomplice".[30] Federal Judge Anita Brody later upheld this verdict. Lambert attempted to appeal the 1998 decision in 2003 and to bring the case to the Supreme Court of the United States, but was rejected both times.[6][31] She exhausted her appeals in 2005.



Anti-stalking activism


After her daughter died in 1991, Hazel Show started campaigning for stronger anti-stalking laws in Pennsylvania. Show's murder helped push forward anti-stalking legislation,[32] with new laws signed into effect in June 1993.[33]

1996 rape charges


In 2007, Lambert appeared in court to sue the correctional institution over claims that she was raped and assaulted by state prison staff in 1996. Lambert's lawyer argued that the institution had done nothing to stop the assaults and that Lambert's conviction would impede her from having a fair trial.[34] Lambert received a $35,000 settlement, with the guard accused of assaulting her serving a 1+12- to 3-year sentence.[34]



On November 22, 2017, Buck was resentenced to a term of 28 years to life due to a Supreme Court ruling banning mandatory life sentences for juveniles. Buck was granted parole on December 21, 2019.[35]



An hour-long special episode of 20/20 was aired in February 1999, featuring interviews with several former classmates who said that Lambert had made death threats against Show, as well as presenting evidence that one of the officers who allegedly raped Lambert was on a honeymoon during the time the alleged rape occurred.[36] The murder was also featured on a season 8 episode of American Justice, titled "A Teenage Murder Mystery".[37]

In 2000, the murder was adapted into a TV film entitled The Stalking of Laurie Show (also known by the title Rivals outside of the US). The film was directed by Norma Bailey and starred Jennifer Finnigan as Laurie Show. Critical assessment of the film was poor, with one journalist commenting that the film's depiction of both Laurie Show and Lambert distorted the true story.[38]

In 2001, writer and journalist Lyn Riddle wrote Overkill, a true-crime book about Show's murder and the resulting trials of Lambert and her accomplices.[39]


  1. ^ Riddle, Lyn (16 September 2012). Overkill. Pinnacle Books. ISBN 9780786031917.
  2. ^ Anthony, Ted (September 19, 1993). "Teen's Slaying Killed Mother's Dreams but Fired Her Ambition". LA Times. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  3. ^ Marder, Dianna (November 15, 1992). "Jealousy led teen to kill rival for boyfriend's affections". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  4. ^ "LESSON DRAWN FROM TRAGEDY: A TEEN'S DEATH LEADS TO LEGISLATION". Orlando Sentinel. September 26, 1993. Archived from the original on February 4, 2016. Retrieved December 28, 2012.
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  7. ^ "EERIE SLAY LINK - AMISH KILLER KNEW '91 TEEN MURDERERS". New York Post. 9 October 2006. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
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  10. ^ "Appeals court mulls new trial in stalking murder". Pocono Record. Archived from the original on February 4, 2016. Retrieved December 28, 2012.
  11. ^ a b "AUTHENTICITY OF LETTER IN TEEN SLAYING DISPUTED". The Morning Call. July 12, 1992. Archived from the original on 4 February 2016. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  12. ^ a b c "A Bitter Lesson for Lancaster County". LA Times. November 10, 1997. Retrieved December 28, 2012.
  13. ^ "Woman guilty of killing boyfriend's former date". The Washington Times. July 21, 1992. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  14. ^ "Teen gets life in murder of girl". Reading Eagle. October 1, 1992. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  15. ^ "Convicted Pa. murderer wins $35,000 settlement". Tribune-Review. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  16. ^ "Getaway driver in stalking murder gets out of prison". Beaver County Times. Aug 25, 2003. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  17. ^ "Prison guard rape case to proceed". Reading Eagle. Jul 6, 2007. Retrieved December 28, 2012.
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  19. ^ "Murder Suspect Says Death Is Preferable To Prison". Allegheny Times. January 11, 1998. Retrieved December 28, 2012.
  20. ^ "Federal court to decide whether Lambert can be freed". Gettysburg Times. May 14, 1998. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  21. ^ "Federal appeals court refuses to hear Lambert's request". Reading Eagle. Jan 27, 1998. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  22. ^ "PA. SUPREME COURT SENDS LAMBERT BACK TO FIRST VENUE". The Philadelphia Inquirer. February 27, 1998. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
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  24. ^ "Detective takes witness stand". Observer-Reporter. May 30, 1998. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  25. ^ a b "Lambert tells prosecutor she tried to help victim". Gettysburg Times. Jun 6, 1998. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  26. ^ a b "Former boyfriend of stalking murderer testifies about abuse". Observer-Reporter. May 28, 1998. Retrieved December 28, 2012.
  27. ^ a b "Justice Served--or Subverted?". LA Times. November 9, 1997. Retrieved December 28, 2012.
  28. ^ "Witness: Defendant slit girl's throat as if 'cutting bread'". Observer-Reporter. Jun 17, 1998. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  29. ^ "Lambert's boyfriend testifies". Reading Eagle. Jun 2, 1998. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  30. ^ "News Watch". Gettysburg Times. August 24, 1998. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  31. ^ "High court rejects appeal by woman convicted of stabbing teenage rival in 1991". Associated Press Archive. June 2, 2005. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  32. ^ "Laurie is never far from their minds". Lancaster Online. 19 December 2011. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  33. ^ "Slain teen's mother turns grief into war on stalking". Reading Eagle. July 6, 1993. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  34. ^ a b "State Settles Prison Rape Suit". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved December 28, 2012.
  35. ^ Schweigert, Keith (December 4, 2019). "Timeline: The murder of Laurie Show, trials and appeals of co-conspirators Lisa Michelle Lambert, Tabitha Buck, and Lawrence Yunkin".
  36. ^ "Lambert defense focus of TV show". Reading Eagle. February 24, 1999. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  37. ^ "American Justice Episode Guide". AE TV. Retrieved December 28, 2012.
  38. ^ "'Stalking of Laurie Show' distorts truth of tragedy". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  39. ^ Riddle, Lyn (2001-01-01). Overkill. New York: Pinnacle Books, Kensington Pub. Corp. ISBN 9780786031917. OCLC 815243478.