Lawrence Lobdell sentenced to 30 years in 2009 park slaying

dkelly@adn.comDecember 6, 2013 

An Anchorage judge on Friday sentenced a 23-year-old man to 30 years in prison in the 2009 killing of James Lockery, who was beaten to death in Centennial Park for $7 and a case of beer.

In Superior Court Judge Michael Spaan's sentencing, Lawrence Lobdell was ordered to serve 50 years with 20 suspended and 10 years of probation, said Clint Campion, deputy district attorney. Lobdell's accomplice, Marc Ewing, was sentenced to 50 years in prison in 2010.

According to trial testimony, the teens beat Lockery, 37, all over his body, jumped on his head and stomach, urinated on him and then left Lockery choking on his own blood.

Lockery was sleeping in the park, but family members said he wasn't homeless.

"He just chose to sleep out under the stars," his sister Kerstin Lockery said in 2010.

Lockery said her brother came to Alaska when he was 19, and spent the next two decades fishing, hunting, panning for gold and working a variety of seasonal jobs. He worked hard and floated between Alaska and the Lower 48, and she said James Lockery always had friends and family if he needed a place to stay.

Lobdell, who was 18 at the time of the murder, developed a brain tumor shortly after the killing, and it was unclear at first if he would stand trial. He ultimately pled guilty to second-degree murder.

He appeared in a yellow jumpsuit and a wheelchair Friday, with scars lining the sides of his head from brain surgeries.

Four of Lockery's family members traveled from Arizona for the hearing. Kerstin Lockery delivered a victim impact statement, as did his father, retired Lt. Col. James Lockery Jr., and his brother, Brian Lockery. While they spoke, Lobdell sat hunched over with his forehead against his fist.

A message for Lobdell's public defender, Marcelle McDannel, was not immediately returned.

Reach Devin Kelly at or 257-4314.


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