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Murder trial scheduled to start for man accused of Kent woman's death in 2007

The first-degree murder trial of Randall Edward Connor is scheduled to start Feb. 23 in Seattle. Connor, shown at his arraignment in 2008, is accused of stabbing to death a Kent woman in 2007. - CHARLES CORTES, Kent Reporter
The first-degree murder trial of Randall Edward Connor is scheduled to start Feb. 23 in Seattle. Connor, shown at his arraignment in 2008, is accused of stabbing to death a Kent woman in 2007.
— image credit: CHARLES CORTES, Kent Reporter

Jury selection is expected to start Feb.28  at King County Superior Court in Seattle for the man charged with stabbing to death a Kent woman in 2007.

King County prosecutors charged Randall Edward Connor, 31, with first-degree murder for killing Merianne Lorentson, 24, in her East Hill apartment. Lorentson, a single mother of a then 5-year-old daughter and an aspiring model, was found March 9, 2007 stabbed to death in her living room at an apartment in the 10400 block of Kent-Kangley Road. She was stabbed more than 30 times in her head, neck and body, according to the King County Medical Examiner's autopsy report.

Opening statements are possible by later next week before Judge Sharon Armstrong at the King County Courthouse, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. The trial is expected to last from four to six weeks.

If convicted of first-degree murder, Connor faces a sentencing range of 23 to 28 years in prison. Connor remains in custody at the county jail in Seattle in lieu of $2 million bail.

Connor, who once lived in SeaTac, had dated Lorentson, according to the charging papers.

Kent detectives used DNA test results, cell phone records and interviews with friends and relatives of Connor and Lorentson to build their case against Connor.

The U.S. Marshal’s Service, with assistance from the Kent Police, initially arrested Connor March 12, 2007 in Seattle on a California parole violation.

Connor denied to Kent detectives, in an interview after his parole violation arrest, that he had ever threatened or assaulted Lorentson, according to the charging papers. Connor told police he had been released from a California prison in January 2007 and said he returned to Washington to resume a relationship with Lorentson that had started in 2005. Lorentson "never wanted to break up with me," Connor told detectives.

Prosecutors said Connor served six years for armed robbery at Pelican Bay State Prison in California. Since his release in December 2004, Connor was returned to California three times on parole violations.

Connor was extradited from California and booked for the first-degree murder charge in April 2008 into the King County jail. Conner was in prison in California for a parole violation on an armed robbery conviction.
Connor pleaded not guilty to the first-degree murder charge in April 2008. Several defense requests to continue the trial date helped cause the trial to be pushed out nearly three years, said Dan Donohoe, spokesman for the Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

At the time of the murder of Lorentson, Connor had been out of prison for a little more than two months. He reportedly admitted to Kent Police that he had possessed a gun and a number of knives.

While in prison, Connor participated in a riot, battered another inmate and received a high-risk prisoner label by the state of California, according to the charging papers.

Lorentson was the daughter of Jerry Lorentson, a former King County prosecutor. Jerry Lorentson died in 2009.

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