News

Carneh murder trial set

The trial for a man charged with the murders of four people in Des Moines last year has been scheduled for Dec. 9, with jury selection and opening arguments beginning in early January 2003.

Leemah Carneh, 20, appeared in King County Superior Court March 22 to schedule the trial date.

Carneh was charged with four counts of aggravated first-degree murder for the deaths of Richard and Leola Larson, 63 and 64, their grandson, Taelor Marks, 17, and his girlfriend, Josie Peterson, 17.

Detectives found the bodies of the four, who had been shot, stabbed and bludgeoned, in the LarsonsÂ’ home on March 9, 2001. Some of their belongings had been stolen, authorities said.

Carneh was arrested three days later at a Pierce County home where he lived with his parents. Detectives said they found several items belonging to the victims, as well as blood-spattered clothing and a handgun.

Carneh was charged with the murders, but a judge ordered him into treatment at Western State Hospital after finding him incompetent to stand trial.

The King County prosecuting attorney decided not to pursue the death penalty against Carneh because of his mental history. Though he has been ruled competent to stand trial, some questions remain as to his mental state at the time the murders were committed, officials said.

Staff writer Erica Jahn can be reached at 925-5565 and ejahn@fedwaymirror.com.

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