Lance Bean Pleads Not Guilty In Cold Case Murder
The 61-year-old Albany County man accused of committing a murder in Laramie 42 years ago pleaded not guilty in District Court today.
Lance David Bean appeared before District Court Judge Jeffrey Donnell for his arraignment, and is facing three alternative charges of Murder in the First Degree. Bean pleaded not guilty to all three alternatives.
The first alternative is that Bean allegedly committed murder in the first degree during the commission of a rape. The second alternative charge is that Bean allegedly committed murder in the first degree in the attempted commission of a rape. The third alternative charge is that he allegedly committed murder in the first degree with premeditated malice.
All three alternative charges face a maximum penalty of life in prison. Judge Donnell noted that because the alleged crime was committed in 1972, it is the law that was in effect then that rules the court. Because of this, punishments of life in prison without the possibility of parole and the death penalty are not possible punishments for this case.
Bean stands accused of the murder and possible sexual assault of 20-year-old Sharon Reher. According to court documents, Reher’s body was found on April 17, 1972 in her bedroom. It appeared she had been sexually assaulted and strangled before her throat was slashed. According to court document, Bean’s DNA was allegedly found on many articles of clothing worn by Reher at the time of her death.
Attorneys Vaughn Neubauer and Charles Pelkey represent Bean. Neubauer asked the court to lower Bean’s bond or to allow a signature bond on the case. He argued that the state did not have a strong case and that Bean had never lived further that 66 miles from Laramie, making him a low flight risk and little danger to the community.
“This is a stable man with rock solid ties to the community,” said Neubauer.
Josh Merseal is representing the state for the case. He disagreed with Neubauer’s statement about the strength of the case, arguing that DNA evidence at the crime scene does present a strong case.
Judge Donnell denied the request to lower the bond, saying that the penalty for the crime would present incentive for Bean to disappear.
“The fact of the matter is, this is the most serious type of crime there is,” said Judge Donnell.
He added that while it is difficult to speculate on the strength of the case at this point, the case was strong enough to present probable cause and go to trial.
Bean continues to be held on $750,000 cash or commercial bond.
A trial for the case has been set to begin February 2, 2015.