Nathan Lehman sentenced to 61 years in prison for murdering his parents

Monday,

Hennepin County District Court Judge Jamie Anderson sentenced an Eden Prairie man to 61 years in prison for the murder of his parents, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Monday.

Nathan Lehman, 38, was sentenced to 367 months for the murder of his mother Debra and another 367 months for the murder of his father Robert, to be served consecutively. In November, Lehman rejected the county prosecutor’s offer of just over 40 years in prison which took into account his mental illness but also his obvious danger to public safety.

Instead, Lehman made a straight plea, meaning the two sides argued what the sentence should be and Hennepin County District Court Judge Anderson made the final determination, which was announced in court today.

During his guilty plea, Lehman agreed that there were aggravating circumstances in his crime which would allow the judge 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.

Not long after his arrest, Lehman was interviewed by a court psychiatrist who determined that while he did suffer from mental illness, he understood at the time he killed his parents that it was wrong and that he was able to understand and aid in his criminal defense.

After listening to relatives of Debra and Robert Lehman give their victim impact statements and reviewing the detailed presentence investigation prepared by a probation officer, Judge Anderson pointed out to Lehman that over the years he refused to accept the help that was repeatedly offered him for his mental illness.

According to the criminal complaint, Lehman had a history of police contacts for mental health problems, methamphetamine addiction and assaults on his parents. He had left their house in late April and, at the time, had not been following the orders of his mental health caseworkers. His parents reported him missing on May 8. Eden Prairie police were sent to the Lehman home about 7 a.m. May 25 when Robert Lehman did not show up for work. Police found the parents in the upstairs bathroom, dead from apparent stab wounds and other injuries.