WENATCHEE — Twenty-five years ago, Jason Barb sat beside Michael Lauderdale and some friends in a hot tub at a party.
What Barb didn’t know was that the night before, Lauderdale beat Barb’s best friend, Jeremy Wood, to death with a baseball bat and then raped him alongside No. 2 Canyon Road. Wood was 21. Lauderdale was 19.
“(He) sat there and talked with everybody, acted like nothing had even happened from the night before,” Barb said. “And I’m in the hot tub with this guy — next to him. No remorse. Acted like nothing had ever happened.”
Lauderdale was ultimately convicted of aggravated first-degree murder and first-degree murder. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
In June 2018, Lauderdale, now 44, began appealing his convictions. He made an appearance Thursday in Chelan County Superior Court.
Lauderdale’s motion is two-pronged. First, he claims that two murder convictions for one victim amounts to double jeopardy. The Chelan County Prosecutor conceded earlier this year that Lauderdale shouldn’t have been sentenced on both murder charges.
The lesser of the two, first-degree murder, will be dismissed and on Sept. 19 Lauderdale will be re-sentenced for aggravated first-degree murder.
However, Lauderdale also contends that the aggravating factor of his aggravated first-degree murder conviction — rape — should be removed because Wood was dead when the sexual assault occurred. Lauderdale argues that rape cannot be committed on a dead person. Prosecutors are looking to transfer this portion of Lauderdale’s motion to the state Court of Appeals.
Lauderdale’s recent court activity is taking a toll on Wood’s friends and family, Barb said.
“It’s like reopening a wound,” Barb said. “You know, you think you have a little bit of closure and then it just comes back. Now you’re dealing with it all over again.”
Barb attended the hearing Thursday to support Wood’s family and to help keep Lauderdale in prison.
“I just think he’s pure evil,” Barb said. “I think if he gets out something bad could happen to somebody else.”
His hope is that the court uphold Lauderdale’s sentence of life without the possibility of parole.
“Keep the sentence the way it is,” Barb said. “Give his family and friends the peace they deserve.”