Moscow triple murder suspect John Lee pleads guilty - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Moscow triple murder suspect John Lee pleads guilty

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Triple murder suspect John Lee Triple murder suspect John Lee
MOSCOW, Idaho -

John Lee, the man accused of murdering three people, including his own adoptive mother changed his plea to guilty in a Latah County Courtroom on Friday. Lee had previously entered a not guilty plea back in August. 

Lee walked into a Latah County courtroom wearing glasses and an orange jumpsuit. After being reminded of his rights once again by the judge, Lee listened as the judge ran through each charge individually and changed his plea to guilty on all three charges of 1st degree murder and one charge of 1st degree aggravated battery. 

When asked if he committed the crimes he is being charged with by the judge, Lee stumbled and acted confused by the question. 

"It's not what I think, it's what everybody else does," Lee told the judge. 

While describing the shootings, Lee said ""I was paranoid, I thought people were out to get me, I felt like people were watching me... "I thought maybe my parents were trying to poison me. I felt like I lost control."

Lee told the just the chronological events that happened the day of the shootings, beginning with shooting his adoptive mother Terry Grzebielski, then David Trail and Michael Chin (Chin survived) and then Arby's manager Belinda Niebuhr. 

Lee then said he drove to downtown Pullman where police began chasing him. He was arrested after a high-speed pursuit.

"I guess I'm in a weird situation, but my attorney told me this is the best deal and he told me to tell the truth," Lee said.

"I'm not sure I can accept that plea," the judge said after listening to Lee's version of what happened. 

The court then discussed the option of an Alford plea, which is when a defendant enters a guilty plea without an admission of guilt. After a short recess where Lee's lawyer explained to him exactly what an Alford Plea is, court resumed and both the prosecution and defense agreed that an Alford Plea would be accepted. 

After explaining an Alford plea again, and running through the charges and evidence against him, the judge asked the prosecution to present their case against Lee. The prosecution presented their evidence and acknowledged that it lined up closely with what Lee had previously told the court. 

The judge then turned his attention back to Lee and asked him to repeat back the charges faced and the maximum sentence for each of them. The judge asked Lee if anyone had promised he would go easy on him if he changed his plea to guilty and Lee responded, "No."

"Are you pleading guilty voluntarily?" the judge asked, to which Lee responded, "Yes, your honor." After a few more questions making sure Lee understood what he was doing, and running through the charges one more time with Lee pleading guilty to all of them again, the judge accepted the plea. 

A sentencing date was scheduled for May 24 at 9:00 a.m.. The prosecution said there would most likely be a number of family members who would want to be heard that day. 

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