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Two Former Air Force Officers Given 20 Years In Girl’s Death

July 20, 1987

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (AP) _ Two women were sentenced Monday to 20 years in prison for killing the 2- year-old daughter of one of them.

Georganna Lagen and Paula Martineau, both former Air Force officers, had been convicted of involuntary manslaughter and child abuse in the death of Michelle King, Ms. Lagen’s daughter.

The couple allegedly shook and beat Michelle after she defecated in her swimming suit three years ago.

District Judge William Beko allowed the women to remain free pending appeal.

″I know I didn’t abuse Michelle. I loved Michelle,″ said Ms. Lagen. ″Michelle apparently did suffer some severe head injury, but I don’t know what happened.″

The sentencing came three years and a day after the girl was fatally injured at a home Lagen and Martineau shared.

″The most vulnerable victim we have in society is a child, particularly a 27-month-old girl that cannot defend herself,″ said Prosecutor Bill Cooper.

An initial investigation into the death produced no charges, but the girl’s father, Air Force Capt. Peter King, uncovered evidence that led to appointment of a special state prosecutor who won an indictment against the women in August 1985.

Cooper contended during the trial that the evolving lesbian relationship between the women and their ideas of disciplining Michelle and her 4-year-old brother, Robert, led to the death.

Cooper claimed the children ″got in the way″ of the women, who grew increasingly less tolerant.

Following Michelle’s death, Lagen was discharged from the Air Force after a hearing on charges of homosexuality. Martineau was honorably discharged from the service in 1982, according to testimony during the trial.

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