Washington Supreme Court upholds death penalty for man who murdered Kirkland family

VIDEO: Death penalty decision

The Washington Supreme Court upheld the death penalty for inmate Conner Schierman, who was convicted in 2010 of murdering an entire family.

Leonid Milkin was serving in Iraq with the National Guard in July 2006 when a neighbor murdered his wife and children, and burned down his house to cover up the crime.

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Olga Milkin was found with her sons, Justin, 5, and Andrew, 3, and her sister Lyuba Botvina, in the burned home. Investigators say they were stabbed to death.

Conner Schierman, who had recently moved into the duplex across the street, was tried for the killings and convicted.

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In the penalty phase the jury recommended he be sentenced to death. The judge agreed, sentencing Schierman to death in 2010. Schierman's attorney immediately notified the county of his intention to appeal the verdict to the state Supreme Court.

While Conner's appeal sat in court, Milkin vocalized he was upset when state and county leaders considered and favored abolishing the death penalty. Milkin said it should be up to the voters to decide.

"It's shameful. It's deplorable," Milkin said. "They're betraying victims and they're basically helping the murderers get away with murder."

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The effort to ban the death penalty fizzled out in the Legislature in March.

Washington’s death penalty has been seldom used in recent years. In 2014, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee placed a moratorium on capital punishment, suspending the practice for as long as he’s in office. The state’s last execution occurred in 2010 when Cal Coburn Brown, convicted for the 1991 rape and murder of 21-year-old Holly Washa, was put to death by lethal injection.

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