Earlier this year, after a nearly three-year court ordeal, Port Angeles' Lauryn Last pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter under an Alford plea in the December 2008 death of her newborn son, named Thomas by the boy's maternal grandmother. Yesterday, back in court, Last was ordered to pay $7,414 for the infant's funeral and burial expenses.
Only sixteen at the time of her son's birth, prosecutors from Clallam County contended that Last gave birth to the child on the toilet and then drowned it before throwing the body in the garbage. A roommate eventually tipped police off to the murder, but the boy's remains had already been picked up with the rest of the trash. The body of the child was later found at a transfer station in Tacoma and buried at the expense of the state Crime Victim's Compensation Fund - including a $3,545 headstone, according to the Peninsula Daily News.
Yesterday Last was ordered to pay $25 a month for the next 18 months, and $50 a month each month after until the total of $7,414 is reimbursed, which stands to take her into her 30s to accomplish.
Thomas' body was located at the Tacoma transfer station after Port Angeles police, Pierce County sheriff's office, Tacoma police and a State Patrol crime laboratory sifted through a reported 60 tons of garbage back in January 2009.
Police also charged Last's father, Ronald Last Jr., with being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of methamphetamine , the gross misdemeanor of concealing a birth, stemming from Thomas' drowning death and subsequent disposal.
The Peninsula Daily News quotes Clallam County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney John Troberg as saying of yesterday's ruling, "I think it was an absolutely correct decision."
John Hayden, who represented the now 19-year-old Last during her original trial and during this most recent court battle, has called any decision to make Last pay for the burial "piling it on."
The case is similar to one involving Tacoma's Melissa McMillen, accused of drowning her newborn baby girl last year in Tacoma. McMillen's trial should begin sometime this year.