Criminal Justice

Lawyer is acquitted in murders of her wealthy father and his girlfriend


A suburban Kansas City lawyer was acquitted on Tuesday in the murders of her wealthy father and his girlfriend, who was to receive the bulk of the father’s estate.

Jurors in Lebanon, Missouri, acquitted Susan Elizabeth Van Note after deliberating for about six hours, report the Kansas City Star, the Associated Press and LakeExpo.com.

Prosecutors had contended Van Note stabbed and shot William Van Note, and his girlfriend, Sharon Dickson, at their Lake of the Ozarks vacation home in October 2010 because she wanted to inherit an estate worth about $7 million.

William Van Note initially survived, but he was removed from life support based on a power of attorney created by Susan Elizabeth Van Note after the attack, according to evidence on her computer presented at trial. Prosecutors also pointed to a call from Susan Elizabeth Van Note’s cellphone that was made minutes after the attack at a location near the murder scene.

Defense lawyers had suggested the murders were committed by a man who had borrowed money from William Van Note and put up several properties as collateral. William Van Note foreclosed on the properties when the man was unable to keep up with his payments. The man cannot be found.

Defense lawyers also said there was no forensic evidence connecting Susan Elizabeth Van Note to the murder scene. Nor did she have any cuts or scratches even though Dickson had apparently fought her attacker, the lawyers pointed out.

A defense witness had testified that, based on bullet trajectories, the attacker must have been taller than the defendant.


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