Eden Prairie man pleads guilty in murder of his parents
The Eden Prairie man who killed his parents earlier this year pleaded guilty to both counts of second-degree murder, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Tuesday.
Nathan Lehman, 38, rejected the county prosecutor’s offer of just over 40 years in prison in exchange for the guilty plea. Instead, he made a straight plea, meaning the two sides will argue what the sentence should be and Hennepin County District Court Judge Jamie Anderson will make the final determination on his sentence at a hearing Jan. 8.
During his guilty plea Tuesday morning, Lehman also agreed that there were aggravating circumstances in his crime which would allow Judge Anderson to sentence him to a term higher than that recommended by the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines. Those factors are the particular cruelty of the murders—stabbing his parents multiple times with screwdrivers—and committing the crime in their zone of safety, their own bathroom.
According to the criminal complaint, Eden Prairie police were sent to the Lehman home about 7 a.m. on May 25 when Robert Lehman did not show up for work. Police found Robert and Debra in the upstairs bathroom, dead from apparent stab wounds.
About five hours earlier, a neighbor heard a loud muffler and saw Nathan Lehman park his vehicle in his parents’ driveway and walk into their home. After no more than 30 minutes, the neighbor saw Lehman drive away without turning on his headlights, the complaint states.
Lehman was arrested later that day in Buffalo and police found bloody clothes in the trunk of his car, blood in the car’s interior and a hatchet with traces of blood on it. They also found methamphetamine, according to the complaint.
According to the complaint and his testimony Tuesday, Lehman said he went into the house, found his mother in the bathroom and began stabbing her with two screwdrivers, one in each hand. She screamed and his father came to the bathroom and Nathan stabbed him. He tossed two screwdrivers out of his car somewhere after he left the house.
Nathan Lehman had moved back into his parents’ house, but had not been following the orders of his mental health caseworkers and finally left the house in late April or early May, according to the complaint. His parents reported him missing on May 8.
Eden Prairie Police had been called numerous times on Lehman for mental health problems, methamphetamine addiction and assaults on his parents