MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

June 1, 2011

Child killer guilty

Laconsello pleads guilty to slaying 4-year-old with scissors

A man who admitted stabbing to death a 4-year-old Muskogee boy found no mercy Tuesday in a Muskogee County courtroom packed with the boy’s friends and family members.

During an emotional hearing, Aaron Michael Laconsello, 19, quietly admitted breaking into the home where Dakota Lane lay sleeping and stabbing the boy 36 times.

Laconsello, who will serve a life sentence without the possibility of parole for his plea to a first-degree murder charge, had no explanation for his acts. The 19-year-old did say he had been drinking and had experienced black-outs, but that explanation appeared to carry little weight.

Muskogee County District Attorney Larry Moore said Laconsello was cognizant of the events and other facts when he was questioned by law enforcers shortly after his arrest.

About 40 of Lane’s family members and friends — most all of them sporting buttons emblazoned with the boy’s smiling face — packed the courtroom. Many of them wept openly as Moore described photographs of the boy’s blood-soaked mattress, the stab wounds that covered the 4-year-old’s body, and the scissors Laconsello picked up in the Lanes’ home and used in the attack.

Emotions also ran high when Dakota’s mother and two grandmothers got a chance to tell Laconsello what he had done to their “super hero” and his family. Those comments, which were read from statements redacted at the request of Laconsello’s defense team, unleashed a stream of tears from the gallery.

Tina Lane, the boy’s paternal grandmother, rebuked any apology Laconsello might offer during her victim’s impact statement.

“Because of you, this is what I live everyday because you slaughtered my grandbaby — this is my life and nobody can change it,” Lane said, her voice growing louder and more passionate. “Don’t waste your breath saying you’re sorry because Dakota can’t hear you!”

Stephanie Lane, who was pregnant when she fought off her son’s assailant, recalled the events of Nov. 9.

“There was no reason for what you did, and we should have never had to have went through it,” Stephanie Lane said. “Chris (the boy’s father) shouldn’t have felt like he let us down, just as my last touch shouldn’t have been performing CPR.”

Gretchen Mosley, who led Laconsello’s defense team, said her client accepted the plea deal after it was determined he had no credible defense to the charges. The plea also guaranteed her client would not be subject to the death penalty if he were to be found guilty after a trial.

Mosley said an expert witness determined Laconsello understood the nature and the consequences of his actions at the time of the murder, so insanity was not a defense. Mosley said the suggestion that two others may have killed Dakota Lane didn’t pan out, so that defense also was not an option.

In accepting Laconsello’s plea, Special District Judge Robin Adair said while most people come to court to find justice, he recognized Laconsello was there to find mercy.

“I don’t know what I can say to you,” Adair said after sentencing Laconsello. “But may God have mercy on you because you’re not going to find any in this life.”

Laconsello also will serve a life sentence for his conviction of assault and battery with a deadly weapon and 20 years for first-degree burglary.

Reach D.E. Smoot at (918) 684-2901 or dsmoot@muskogeephoenix.com.

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