This blog is a Topical Personal Archive referenced by our other blogs. Article dates will be original date of news or research. Blog also contains "Informational" posts.

Sheriff: Sex offender says he killed teen

David Onstott, yes a former sex offender, admitted killing Sarah Lunde, but there is a significant fact that most folks do not realize, he was never charged with any sex crime as part of the murder, because there was nothing sexual about the murder. However, there is some proof that it may have been drug related.
4-18-2005 Florida:

RUSKIN - Less than three hours after a memorial for 13-year-old Sarah Michelle Lunde on Sunday, Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee announced that registered sex offender David Lee Onstott had confessed to killing her.

On hearing the news, Rebekah Lunde, Sarah's 22-year-old sister, collapsed in the parking lot of the First Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ, where Sarah was a regular.

"You are talking about a person who would murder a child," the sheriff said, declining to give many details about Onstott's confession. "Who knows what's in his mind."

Onstott is charged with first degree murder. In a court appearance Monday, Onstott made no statement and was ordered to be held without bond. Prosecutor Mark Ober said no decision has been made on whether to seek the death penalty.

Gee sketched out the sequence of the killing.

Onstott, who months ago had dated Sarah's mother, Kelly May, went to the Lunde home on April 10, between midnight and 4 a.m. Sarah was inside alone.

He "knocked on the door and the victim yelled to him to open the door," Gee said. Inside, Onstott and Sarah began arguing, then Onstott "put the victim in a choke hold, causing her to become unconscious" and then die, Gee said.

Onstott then hid the body in an abandoned fish farm pond a half mile south of her home, authorities said.

"When he put her there, he went through great effort to keep the body from being discovered," the sheriff said Sunday.

Gee said that when Sarah's body was pulled from the pond Saturday, it was partly clothed.

An autopsy by the medical examiner will determine whether Sarah was sexually assaulted, Gee said.

Asked whether he thinks Onstott should receive the death penalty, he said: "That's going to be for the state attorney (to decide). I certainly hope so."

Before her disappearance, Sarah had spent the weekend in Apopka, at a youth rally with First Apostolic Church members.

She returned to Ruskin that Saturday, April 9, attended a birthday party and was home by 9 p.m. Her mother, not expecting Sarah to return until Sunday, was out of town.

Only Sarah's 17-year-old brother, Andrew Lunde, was at home. She asked him to get her something to eat that night, but instead, he left and hung out with friends until 4 a.m., he told detectives.

When he came home, the front door of their mobile home at 2512 30th St. SE was "wide open" and Sarah was gone.

He told WTSP-Ch. 10 that Onstott showed up about 5 a.m. and asked to see his mother. Onstott left when he learned she wasn't there, taking a beer bottle from the home, Andrew Lunde said.

Sarah's mother got home that Sunday. She and Sarah's brother assumed that the sixth-grader was staying with a friend Sunday night.

But on Monday, when May checked at Beth Shields Elementary School and found that no one had seen her daughter, she reported Sarah missing, and the weeklong search began. Hundreds of people joined the search. A search dog and handler found Sarah's body Saturday morning at the fish farm at 3530 30th St. SE.

Onstott's most recent girlfriend said Sunday that she did not think he committed the crime, despite the confession.

Ashley Poston of Ruskin said she and Onstott have been dating and living together for about three months and that it had been at least four months since Onstott visited the Lunde family's home.

"I just don't believe he did it at all," the 20-year-old day care worker said. "He's not like that."

It's more likely, Poston said, that Onstott was tired and gave in to pressure by law enforcement officials to confess.

The last time Poston saw Onstott was Monday morning, when she asked him to leave. Poston said she had found out that one of Onstott's ex-girlfriends had a restraining order against him and they argued. Onstott had earlier denied that, she said.

"I told him that I didn't want to be with a liar," Poston said in a telephone interview.

Even though the couple broke up a week ago, Poston had high hopes for their relationship.

Onstott, she said, made her feel good about herself and got along well with her two children, both toddlers. He watched her children several times without incident while she went to the grocery store, she said.

Poston, who met Onstott six months ago, thought they would get back together. "I was planning on marrying this man," Poston said. "He was good to my kids. He just treated me right. He was a good man."

He also was a man with a criminal record. Onstott, of 3510 Petrova Circle in Ruskin, was convicted in 1995 of sexual battery on a Hillsborough acquaintance. She testified that he knocked on her door, asked to use the bathroom, then threw her to the floor and raped her. A jury convicted him.

In a letter to the court asking a judge for leniency in his rape sentence, Onstott said the jurors didn't have all the information they needed to come to a verdict. He said they never got to hear about the plaintiff's drug history and that he never forced himself on her sexually. It was a case, Onstott said, of exchanging cocaine for sex.

"I would also like to state that I am a hard working person and have been so all my life," Onstott wrote to the judge. "I have set goals to better myself ... I know that if I were to have my sentence reduced, I could help the police in my town of Ruskin put away the cocaine dealers ... because I know their sources."

He served six years in prison and was ordered to serve probation.

Court records show that Onstott violated his probation in October 2002 when he hit a man across the face with a machete.

Onstott has been at the Hillsborough County's Orient Road Jail since Tuesday, on an unrelated charged of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Authorities say he threatened a man on Tuesday with a screwdriver during a "heated argument."

An official records check revealed that Onstott was wanted for driving under the influence in Michigan, where his mother and three children live. Deputies later added a fugitive charge and a charge of failing to register as a sexual offender.

He was held without bail even before the murder charge.

During Sunday morning church service, before Gee announced Onstott's confession, Patrick Beaver told the congregation to take comfort that Sarah was in a better place. "Whoever did this, one day, he will have to answer to God," Beaver said. "(Jesus) is a lamb in forgiveness and a lion in judgment."

About 70 family members and friends of the Lunde family, came to the church for the memorial that was to follow the regular church service. They chose not to attend the regular service, but planned to attend the memorial immediately following.

But when the service ended and the memorial began, no one notified them and they missed it.

When told of the mixup near the end of the memorial, the pastor, the Rev. Johnny Cook, said, "It's too late now. We'll fellowship with them when we're done."

Doris Fontana's 13-year-old daughter, Leslie, was best friends with Sarah. Fontana had planned a 50th birthday party for her husband, John, the afternoon that Sarah and other church youth returned from Apopka.

Leslie asked her mother to let Sarah spend the night, but Fontana said no. "I hold a little measure of guilt for that," she said.

Sarah had told Leslie she didn't like Onstott, Fontana said. But Fontana said she never found out why.

John Fontana held up a picture Sunday showing Sarah at his birthday party. "For all I know," he said, "I fixed her last meal." ..Source.. by KEVIN GRAHAM

No comments: