Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Murder and a Movie: The Jeffrey Lamb Case

Making the Case

On July 12, Lamb was arrested for choking, punching, and attempting to put handcuffs on his girlfriend at the home they shared in Jupiter. He was charged with misdemeanor battery and committed for psychiatric evaluation. It was the second such charge against him in the past three years, wrote Libby Wells in the Palm Beach Post. He was already on probation for a battering incident with another woman, allegedly a live-in girlfriend, from a 2001 incident. While neither was named, in court it came out that the July 12 incident involved Joey Lee, and since he had been dating her in 2001, it seems safe to assume that she may have been the victim in the first incident as well. This was not clarified. Lamb was also on probation for an embezzlement incident in 2000. Thus, he was dishonest, aggressive, and it was not out of character for him to hurt women.

To make a stronger case, investigators got Lamb's cell phone records from June 15. Although he had claimed to be at work all day, since he was a tow truck driver he could have left without anyone noticing. Records of the places where he'd used his cell phone indicated that at one point during the day, he was not far from home — just about the time at which Cathy was attacked. Shortly after the murder, Lamb had also filed for a life insurance payment of $27,000.

Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office patch
Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office patch

On August 26, over two months after the homicide, officers from the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office arrested Lamb, charging him with cruelty to animals, filing a false insurance claim, and first-degree murder. They didn't have far to go, as he was already in the county jail for violating his probation with the assault incident. Whether the murder had been a heat-of-the-moment attack or a pre-planned event had yet to be determined, but given the manner of cover-up and staging, it looked more like a premeditated event.

Then another piece of potential evidence turned up. One of Lamb's coworkers from Superior Towing alerted police to a tire iron tossed onto the warehouse roof. It looked like a viable weapon — heavy and the right shape to have crushed a skull and made the peculiar wounds. If Lamb had handled it, using it to bludgeon his wife and pets, the evidence should be on it, so the implement was sent for testing and examination.

According to the press, the ME spotted the pattern right away as a match for the wounds. The tire iron had two heads, made specifically for Dually trucks, which Lamb drove, and this double head would leave a distinctive pattern. DNA testing, however, was less revealing: the weapon had been thoroughly cleaned. While it could not be tied to Lamb, it seemed to be a good candidate for the implement used on Cathy. The rest would be for a jury to decide. Lamb claimed to be innocent, but if found guilty he faced execution by lethal injection.

As the prosecutor, Craig Williams, prepared the case, there was yet another striking discovery. A lab technician going over the evidence discovered a spot of blood on the bottom of Lamb's dark-colored socks. As with the blood on the jeans, this was clearly not a wipe pattern. The first technician had missed it, which would make the lab look less than efficient, but it was an important piece of evidence nonetheless. Without an eyewitness or smoking gun, the team needed a strong circumstantial case.

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