Defense: Depression led to murder By Theresa Killian Staff Writer
Article taken from High Point Enterprise
HIGH POINT – A judge was not moved to leniency Monday after testimony that a man who shot one housemate and killed another suffered severe depression that stemmed from childhood illness and being unable to visit his son.
Superior Court Judge W. Douglas Albright heard eight proposed mitigating factors, as well as a request to consolidate charges, before sentencing Kenneth Steve Lamm in the maximum possible range of 20-25 years.
Albright said reduced murder charges against Lamm as apart of a plea arrangement were mitigating enough.
High Point police originally charged Lamm with first-degree murder and attempted murder after shootings at an E. Moore Avenue residence Sept. 29.
Lamm pleaded guilty, without admitting guilt, to shooting housemate Walter Davis in the arm and leg when he made disparaging comments about his girlfriend.
He then shot housemate Christopher Thomas Jarvis, 29, in the chest when he came to the doorway of a bedroom. Jarvis died.
The plea reduced the charges to second-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. Lamm also was sentenced Monday for an assault charge pending at the time of the shooting.
Krispen Culbertson, the attorney who defended Lamm, said they had hoped for a better sentence.
“The defendant is a man.
He was not without his value as a human being. Mercy is appropriate.”
Family members testified Lamm was never the same after fighting a disease at age 11 that left him temporarily unable to swallow, speak or walk.
Further testimony indicated he battled severe depression after he was prevented from seeing his son. The depression was compounded with a substance abuse problem that led Lamm to a 28-day treatment program.
“They said you’ve got to practice tough love stuff, and that’s what it was – tough love,” said Betty Lamm, Kenneth’s mother. She later described photos of her son caring for his own child, who is 9.
“I think it’s a lot of things that have built up over his lifetime,” Betty Lamm told the judge.
Culbertson said all factors contributed to Kenneth Lamm’s limited ability to control his actions at the time.
“The defendant is a man,” Culbertson said. “He was not without his value as a human being. Mercy is appropriate.”
But Jarvis’ family, including his mother and Angela Brown, the mother of Jarvis’ son, said they thought the sentence was fair.
Brown said Jarvis may have had problems himself but that he was good at heart, loved his family and had regularly spent time with their 3-year old son.
“He knows his Daddy is in heaven,” Brown said.