Jury convicts woman of murdering parents

6:00 PM, Feb 16, 2010   |    comments
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Lounsbury was convicted Tuesday on two counts of first-degree murder for killing her father, Harold "Hap" Enander and his wife, Velva "Sue" Enander.

An hour later, District Court Judge John Bryan sentenced Lounsbury to two life sentences without parole, which were ordered to be served concurrently.

Juda Filippi, Sue Enander's daughter and Lounsbury's step-sister, spoke in court before the sentencing.

"My mom was a caring and giving woman to everyone she met, including Kara Lounsbury," Filippi said. "My mom tried to bring peace, compassion and understanding to Kara."

Lounsbury appeared to gasp as the verdict was read.

The courtroom was filled with friends of the Enanders and employees from Aqua Hot, the Fort Lupton company founded by Hap Enander.

Doreen Martin, who attended every day of the trial, said her former boss had "a heart of gold."

"It was the greatest job I've ever had," Martin said. "He just always thought of us. We were number one with him."

Throughout the trial, prosecutors and the defense team disagreed on which of Enander's adult children shot and killed the Enanders in their sleep, an act prosecutors referred to as "an execution."

Lounsbury's defense centered in on an effort to pin the January 2009 killings at the Enander house near Hudson on Lounsbury's brother, Jared Enander.

Lounsbury's defense team declined comment after the verdict.

"Rather than present this case defending one person and prosecuting another, we just followed the evidence," Adams County Deputy District Attorney Jess Redman said.

The prosecutors said they addressed the alternative suspect defense head-on, because it was natural for jurors to wonder if Jared Enander could have been the killer.

"In all honesty, we discussed the fact that they [jurors] were going to think Jared may have had something to do with it, so we had to point to the facts and not rumor or innuendo," Adams County Chief Deputy District Attorney Jim Colgan said.

Jared Enander lives next door to his parents' home in rural Adams County near Hudson where the couple was found dead on Jan. 14, 2009.

Prosecutors suggested during the trial that Lounsbury was desperate for financial help from her father and feared he had cut her out of his will.

Testimony from family members and friends painted a picture of a fractured and estranged Enander family.

Both Enander siblings alluded to verbal abuse during childhood from their father, who later became a well-respected small businessman and church leader.

Hap Enander made efforts to reconcile and connect with his children, going so far as to put both of them on his company's payroll for doing little or no work.

Enander's company employed about 75 people to make water heaters for high-end recreational vehicles.

A number of Enander's employees and fellow church parishioners attended each day of testimony.

In his closing statement, Colgan told jurors that Lounsbury and Jared Enander "both manipulated and used their father" but the evidence only points to Lounsbury as the killer.

"There's no evidence he did anything," Colgan said. The reason the defense team is pointing to Jared Enander, Colgan said, is because, "if you look at Jared, guess what, you don't look at what she did."

Colgan said Sue Enander's horrific injuries illustrated Lousnbury's hatred for her stepmother.

"She could have just shot her," Colgan said. "Her head was crushed in 20 times."

"Why did she have to beat her?" Colgan asked jurors. "Because she didn't like her. She felt threatened by her. She was going to get some of her money.

"She hated her," Colgan said.

A key piece of evidence at trial was a home surveillance tape provided to investigators by Jared Enander.

Prosecutors said it shows Lounsbury pulling into her brother's driveway and then driving next door to their father's house in the early morning hours when investigators believe the couple was killed.

Lounsbury testified she tried to visit her brother but denied going next door and killing the Enanders.

Defense attorney Chad Oxman told jurors that investigators and prosecutors were quick to blame Lounsbury and ignore evidence that Jared Enander was the killer.

Lounsbury's trial was "written, produced and directed" by her brother, Oxman said.

"She didn't do it," Oxman said. "This is a setup."

None of the blood that covered the crime scene was found inside Lounsbury's vehicle, Oxman said.

"It defies science," Oxman told the jury.

Lounsbury's DNA was among the potential matches for a sample found inside a latex glove at the crime scene. Both the prosecution and defense said the Enander house had been trashed to make it look like a robbery.

Lounsbury testified she believes the glove was left there by her brother.

"This glove was planted," Oxman told jurors. "The evidence that Jared put there speaks for itself."

"She says he did it because he did it," Oxman said.

Oxman stressed to jurors that they didn't need to "pick" between Lounsbury and Jared Enander as the killer but simply decide that prosecutors hadn't proved Lounsbury committed murder.

(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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