RENEE ORDWAY

Tougher bail might not have averted Lake tragedy

Steven Lake arrested in June 2010 for allegedly holding his wife and children hostage in a bedroom and threatening to kill them and/or himself.
Piscataquis County Jail
Steven Lake arrested in June 2010 for allegedly holding his wife and children hostage in a bedroom and threatening to kill them and/or himself.
Posted Feb. 10, 2012, at 6 p.m.

Type your name into an online search engine and chances are you’ll see an offer from a company or 10 claiming to have lots of information about you for anyone willing to fork over a mere $19.99.

Your address, your phone numbers, your closest relatives and the towns and organizations you have connections with, your education background — all available, it would seem, fairly cheap.

Reporters and editors today can simply type in the name of, say, a murder victim from 15 years ago and within seconds have every story their publication ever generated about the case.

No more combing through file cabinets or flipping through microfiche.

As a nation we don’t manufacture anything anymore, we drive too fast and too far to get to work, we work too long and we probably spend too little time with our loved ones.

But we certainly do communicate quickly.

Information is at our fingertips in a way that it has never been before.

Yet apparently our bail commissioners — those charged with setting reasonable bail amounts for people arrested for a variety of crimes — are unable, in many cases, to see any of an offender’s criminal background.

Last June, Steven Lake shot and killed his estranged wife, Amy, and their two children, Monica and Coty, in Dexter.

Steven Lake had been arrested in June 2010 for criminal threatening and then again in November 2011 for violating a protection from abuse order. In both cases a bail commissioner had released him on $2,000 bail put up by his father.

Seven months later he killed his family.

Is it realistic to think that that bail commissioner back in November would have foreseen that.

Is it realistic to think that any of us would have?

Is it realistic to think that if that bail commissioner had set a higher bail, it eventually wouldn’t have been met and Steven Lake still would have killed his family?

Trust me. Maine would not have kept him in prison or jail for that amount of time.

Would it have made sense if the local police department had the right to search his home and business for the guns he was not supposed to have because of the protection from abuse order?

Probably.

Have you looked at our gun laws?

If Steven Lake had not hidden a couple of his own guns away, he easily could have purchased any number of guns from Uncle Henry’s or any online site.

I’m so sorry to say it, but Steven Lake decided to kill his family and he did.

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