Sister of Seattle girl murdered in 1982 pleads for justice

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by DREW MIKKELSEN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @Drewmikk

KING5.com

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 2:22 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 13 at 5:17 PM

LACEY, Wash. -- Lorraine Dean finally got her chance Monday to tell the state how John Athan ruined her family's life by murdering her sister 29 years ago.

"When you lose a younger daughter or a sister, it's very hard," Dean told members of the Indeterminate Sentence Review Board.

In 2004, Athan was convicted of the 1982 murder of Kristen Sumstad. She was 13 when she was strangled by Athan, her 14-year-old neighbor at the time.

He was arrested 21 years later after DNA evidence linked him to the crime. Investigators got a DNA sample from Athan by getting him to lick an envelope.

In January, members of the Indeterminate Sentence Review Board determined Athan had shown improvement and he was scheduled to be released on parole June 6. He would have served about seven years for the murder.

But his release was suspended after Lorraine Dean appeared on KING 5 News to say that was not long enough.

Dean did not testify before the review board. According to the state, she could not be located. Once she was seen on KING 5, the board administrator said the release was suspended so she could testify.

"I want her [Kristen Sumstad] to have some justice," Dean told board members Monday afternoon.

Jim Athan, John Athan’s brother, offered his condolences to Lorraine Dean. He would not comment on his brother’s sentence, but he did want to remind people the crime was committed by a 14-year-old boy.

“It was a terrible tragedy. A once in a lifetime incident,” said Jim.

Another hearing has been scheduled for John Athan June 28. A decision on his release is expected in late July or August.

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