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UPDATED: Suspect in custody, baby safe after Amber Alert issued in University Place

Post by Stacey Mulick / The News Tribune on Nov. 1, 2011 at 5:54 am with 20 Comments »
November 1, 2011 2:35 pm

2:30 p.m. UPDATE: The victim has been identified as Keisha M. Lewis.

UPDATED at 11:10 a.m.

A man suspected of killing his girlfriend and taking their 9-month-old daughter has been arrested and booked into Pierce County Jail.

Joseph Lester, 23, turned himself in at a Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup overnight. He had his daughter and an attorney with him, Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.

The baby girl is safe and now in state protective custody.

“She was all smiles at the hospital,” Troyer said. “She was smiling and laughing.”

Lester was booked into Pierce County Jail just after 2:15 a.m. today on suspicion of first-degree murder. He will likely not have his first court appearance until Wednesday.

The father and daughter were the focus of an Amber Alert on Monday night after the 21-year-old girlfriend was fatally stabbed outside a University Place home. The alert was canceled shortly after Lester turned himself in.

Investigators say Lester and his girlfriend fought in the front yard of the home in the 6000 block of 57th Avenue West. She was stabbed several times and died in the kitchen of the home, with her toddler-aged son and godmother nearby.

The son has since been placed in protective custody. It wasn’t clear Monday night what he saw.

Family members reported the victim was pregnant.

Lester’s mother, Cassandra Spencer, said on Tuesday that she’s been caring for the couple’s 9-month-old daughter since she was born.

Lester and his girlfriend had been spending more time with the baby girl and had her Monday.

“We don’t know what happened,” Spencer said. “I know they had their problems but not to this extent.”

Spencer said her son did not kidnap his daughter.

“Joseph had the baby regardless,” Spencer said.

Lester was booked into jail on a murder charge, not a kidnapping charge. Troyer said it will be up to the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office to decide what charges to file against Lester.

Leave a comment Comments → 20
  1. Zmonster06 says:

    Great. Got a slimeball Attorney already on the scene to defend this dirt bag.

  2. ldozy1234 says:

    Though its hard to find anything positive about this.. thankfully the baby was brought in to a safe place and not another loss of innocent life.

  3. Yes, sad about the mother but, thank goodness, the baby is safe. I hope those two tots have a better life than their parents.

  4. tree_guy says:

    Too bad Zina Linnick couldn’t have had a timely Amber Alert too.

  5. fivecardstud says:

    If they would start executing this obvious piece of trash and everyone of these thugs the world would be such a safer and nicer place. What good are they?

  6. Zmonster- ‘Slimeball attorney’? What’s up with that? Everyone has a right for Due Process and defense. This is America!! You may not like this and if so….why don’t you go live in China or some other disgusting place with no rights for individuals.
    Maybe the accused is a slimeball…but just because he has retained an attorney doesn’t mean the attorney is a ‘slimeball’ as you put it. what ignorance!! Read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights! Get a clue!

  7. Article in paper says this is a three time felon. Don’t we have a three strikes and you’re out law. I propose a ‘three strikes and your dead’ law. Three felonies, you are a waste of life, we kill you.
    This is one murder, that would not have taken place.

  8. BlaineCGarver says:

    Come off of it, Cheeath…..You really have to check your morals at the door to defend this kind of person…civil right, or not.

  9. lovethemountains says:

    chettah was not defending the “slimeball.” Cheetah was defending your’s and my rights under the Constitution of this country.

  10. jrdndd: Not all felonies are strike offenses in the state of Washington. Only “serious violent” felonies are strike offenses. I am trying to determine how many of Lester’s previous convictions – if any – are strike offenses. From my cursory read, it appears at least one is. I should have a more definitive answer for Wednesday’s paper.

  11. gonefishin69690 says:

    Agreed Stacey. I personally know a 26 year old who is facing 2 years and his 2nd felony, for registering 2 weeks late as a level one sex offender, for something he did when he was 11.

  12. gonefishin69690 says:

    Keep in mind, making a copy of your favorite movie, is also considered a felony. The 3 strikes law applies to “Dangerous” and/or serious felons, which this guy very well appears to be.

  13. jeffm209 says:

    @BlaineCGarver, you clearly have no understanding of the law or legal ethics.

    @cheetah, good point!

  14. johnthehuskyfan says:

    This is the ghetto neighborhood between Cirque Dr. and the Meadowpark golf course. U.P. police are called there often. It shouldn’t be part of University Place.

  15. JessicaW71970 says:

    Why should only places that are perfect and idyllic be allowed in the boarders of University Place? How about a moat and castle wall and perhaps an armed guard at the gate saying who goes there and papers please? ….

  16. sammy2682 says:

    its kinda funny the police didnt happen to mention that the female had stabbed the man only two weeks earlier, and he didnt kidnap the baby she was with him before the incident happened

  17. interWOLFone says:

    @ Sammy…can you cite a reference for proof that the murder victim had stabbed this criminal 2 weeks ago? For the record…the baby had been with his mother, Cassandra Spencer. Spencer had been raising the infant since birth. The couple had just taken the baby home with them that day to ‘work on their relationship’. After he brutally murdered the baby’s mother…he absconded with the baby.

  18. interWOLFone says:

    Never mind about the question. Just found the information on a related article.

  19. interWOLFone says:

    Point to consider…according to reports…Lewis ALLEGEDLY stabbed Lester. Neither would cooperate with police when they were called. No report of an injury being treated.

  20. simple28 says:

    To johnthehuskyfan

    I take great offence to your comment, as I live in this neighborhood! I’m a well-educated, hardworking, contributing member to society and so are the rest of my neighbors. It only takes one person to disrupt an environment. Please remember you don’t get to pick your neighbors.

    Go Cougs!

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