THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT Copyright (c) 1995, Landmark Communications, Inc. DATE: Friday, February 17, 1995 TAG: 9502170555 SECTION: FRONT PAGE: A1 EDITION: NORTH CAROLINA SOURCE: BY LANE DEGREGORY, STAFF WRITER DATELINE: MANTEO LENGTH: Medium: 90 lines
A prison sentence was trimmed Thursday for a 23-year-old Maggie Valley man who strangled his drunken mother after she threatened to cut his hair. He sentence was reduced from 20 to 15 years.
Peter Kenneth Lundin's light brown hair tumbled down his back about six inches below his collar as he sat bound by hand and ankle shackles in Dare County Superior Court at his resentencing.
He asked to speak, and defended his mother's reputation.
``This case has made my mom look like less of a person than she was,'' Peter Lundin said Thursday. ``My mom was my mother - and my friend. She wasn't a raving drunk or anything. She had her problems.
``But, your honor, no way, no how did I mean to do what happened to my mother. My dad knows that. He believes in me. And that's what matters.''
After his prison time was cut, he said the new sentence was ``finally fair. I feel really good about this.''
His lawyer said he might be paroled in a year.
In July 1993 Lundin pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter. The Superior Court judge at the time imposed the maximum sentence, 20 years. Because Lundin killed his mother by strangling her with his hands, the judge said, the crime was committed with malice.
At the resentencing hearing, Judge Clifton W. Everett of Pitt County agreed that the murder was committed with malice. But Everett said the other judge had ``overspoke himself'' by using manual strangulation as proof of malice.
``As tragic as this is, I really can understand, maybe, how a situation can arise which could, over a period of years, build up to something that brought this about,'' Judge Everett said in reducing the sentence. ``I do not view this as a premeditated case. I see it as manslaughter committed under duress.''
Since Lundin has been in jail since June 6, 1992, he could be released on parole as early as next year, his lawyer said.
``I'd be surprised if he serves more than three more years,'' said W. Mark Spence, a court-appointed Nags Head attorney who has represented Lundin throughout all legal proceedings. ``I wouldn't be surprised if he got out in less than one.''
A tall, thin man who composes songs and plays guitar in his cell at Craggy Valley Correctional Center, Lundin grew up in Haywood County near the base of the Smokey Mountains.
According to testimony during his 1993 hearing, Lundin's mother - Anna Schaftner Lundin - was an alcoholic who verbally abused her son. When Peter Lundin was 12, social services officials took him away from his mother while they investigated her on suspicion of child neglect and abuse.
In the spring of 1991, Anna Lundin and her husband, Ole, decided to separate. Ole and Peter Lundin took Anna Lundin to Atlanta on April 2, 1991, so she could catch a plane to Germany where she planned to live with relatives. Five days later, Anna Lundin returned to her family's home in Maggie Valley.
She started drinking, became aggressive, and ``approached Peter with scissors threatening to cut his hair,'' Spence said during the first court hearing.
Peter Lundin didn't want a haircut. According to court testimony, he grabbed his mother's shirt collar and pulled on it until he felt her body go limp. Then, he left the house.
When he returned two hours later, his mother was dead. Peter Lundin took her body, wrapped it in plastic garbage bags, duct tape and rope and drove to the Outer Banks, where he often went to surf. He buried his mom in a dune near the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. On Nov. 1, 1991, Buxton beach strollers found the body after a storm eroded part of the dune.
Investigators said the neck of the 59-year-old woman had been fractured. Police spent more than four months trying to identify the corpse. Finally, they received a missing-person's report from Anna Lundin's German relatives.
During the resentencing hearing Thursday, Spence submitted a letter which Ole Lundin had written on behalf of his son. Ole Lundin, who now lives in Denmark, told the judge that his boy should not have to serve any more time in jail. Since Peter Lundin is officially a Danish citizen, he will have to return to Denmark as soon as he is released from prison.
Ole Lundin mailed his son a new black suit to wear at the hearing. Lundin wore the double-breasted jacket and dark trousers Thursday - with no shirt.
``The shirt his dad sent didn't fit,'' Spence said. ``He didn't have anything else to put on.''
Lundin left his hair long, his lawyer said, because ``there just weren't any good beauticians at the jail.'' ILLUSTRATION: DREW WILSON/Staff
Peter Kenneth Lundin
KEYWORDS: MURDER STRANGULATION SENTENCING by CNB