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Woman found dead in University Place; Amber Alert issued for 9-month-old

Post by Kate McEntee / The News Tribune on Oct. 31, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
October 31, 2011 11:03 pm

UPDATED: 8:25 p.m.

A woman was found dead today in a University Place home, and her 9-month-old daughter is missing, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department said. An AMBER Alert was issued just before 7 p.m. today.

Joseph Lester
Police are looking for 23-year-old Joseph Lester. He is driving a blue or purple 1992 Chevrolet Caprice with the license plate ADP3753. The car has a loud exhaust system and large rims, the Sheriff’s Department said.

Lester is a 5-foot, 8-inch black male. He weighs about 155 pounds. He has brown eyes and black hair, which he wears in braids.

“At this point, we have a homicide suspect on the run with a 9-month-old girl. We’re after him and he knows it,” sheriff’s department spokesman Ed Troyer said tonight.

Today’s stabbing occurred at a duplex in the 6000 block of 57th Avenue West near a golf course.

Neighbors say the victim’s boyfriend, who is a suspect in the slaying, dropped her off at the house earlier this evening. She exited the vehicle yelling, “He’s killing me,” they said. They said she died inside the home.

The victim’s family said she was two to three months pregnant.

Neighbors said there was a stabbing involving the couple at the home within the last month, and some were concerned by the victim’s friends.

“I had nothing against the girl,” said Daniel Roscoe, who lives across the street from the duplex, “just the people she brought around.”

A woman who lived in the neighborhood and has known the victim for years said she was unaware of any trouble between the couple.

The woman, who did not want to be publicly identified, stood by the crime scene tape, watching the scene unfold. She was reluctant to speak about her friend and was visibly upset, with tears in her eyes.

“It’s crazy how fast you can be gone,” she said.

Court records show Joseph Lester has been convicted of felonies three times.

In June 2010, Lester snatched a purse from a woman before leaving with another individual in his car. Lester pleaded guilty to first-degree theft and was sentenced to six months of home detention in January.

In late July 2006, Lester and another individual robbed two people by gunpoint on two separate occasions within an hour of each other, records show.

Lester was convicted of first-degree robbery and first-degree attempted robbery and was sentenced to 4½ years in prison, records show.

In 2004, as a juvenile, Lester was convicted of possessing stolen property.

Staff writers Kathleen Cooper, Christian Hill and Kate McEntee contributed to this report.

This is a developing story. We will post more information as soon as it’s available.

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