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Independence woman found guilty of killing mother in 2015, blamed trick or treaters in March stabbing

NKyTribune staff

It took a jury just three hours to convict Lara Paige Conley of killing her mother, Carlene Conley, by stabbing her to death at a home they shared in Independence.

Police say Conley was covered in her mother’s blood when they responded to a 911 call at the residence.


Conley claimed trick or treaters came into the home on March 14, 2015 and stabbed her mother. She later said she found her mother dead on the kitchen floor after coming up from a downstairs bedroom, according to police reports.

An autopsy determined that Carlene Conley, 69, was stabbed more than 70 times and that the killer broke knives during the attack and retrieved others to continue the slaughter.

Conley was found guilty on March 23, 2017 and after a sentencing hearing, the jury recommended a sentence of 27 years in prison.

Judge Lynne Lape will formally sentence Conley at a date to be determined.

The Kenton Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office released the following statement regarding the investigation and conviction of Conley:

On March 14, 2015, Lara Paige Conley called 911 and reported a home invasion at her mother’s residence in Independence, Kentucky. At the time, Lara Conley lived in the basement of her mother’s home. She told the 911 operator that someone had hurt her mother. Officers from the Independence Police Department, Taylor Mill Police Department, Covington Police Department, and the Kenton County Police Department were all dispatched to the scene. 

Upon arrival, officers found 69 year old Carlene Conley deceased on the kitchen floor with multiple stab wounds and Lara Conley covered in her blood. Officers asked Lara Conley what happened and she stated that a couple of hours prior, trick or treaters came to the door. She gave multiple different descriptions of those individuals. Officers set up a perimeter of the neighborhood and searched the area but were unable to find anyone matching any of the descriptions Lara Conley provided. 

Lara Conley was transported to the police department for an interview. During that interview she provided additional information about the individuals she described as trick or treaters. She also informed detectives that drug dealers were out for her because of unpaid debts. She initially stated she came home and found her mother dead. Later in the interview she stated she came upstairs from sleeping and found her mother on the kitchen floor. 

The investigation was led by Detectives Mike Richman and Jim Moore of the Independence Police Department. After several hours of investigation, it became apparent Lara Conley had misled the police about the circumstances surrounding her mother’s death. Police found no signs of forced entry, no fingerprints on doors or windows, and no evidence of a home invasion. Through the course of the investigation police were able to determine Lara Conley was the only individual in the home with Carlene Conley at the time of her death. A subsequent autopsy found Carlene Conley had been stabbed over 70 times. Detectives found evidence that Carlene Conley’s attacker had actually broken knives during the attack, only to obtain additional knives and continue stabbing. Lara Conley was arrested and charged with her mother’s murder.

April 16, 2015, the Kenton County Grand Jury returned an indictment charging Lara Conley with Murder. The case slowly ground through the legal system. Two years after the date of the Carlene Conley’s murder, a jury trial began in the First Division of the Kenton Circuit Court. Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorneys Lawrence Hilton and Maria Schletker presented the prosecution’s case. Several police officers from multiple agencies testified to the events of the night they responded to the call. The Commonwealth also called witnesses from the Kentucky State Police Forensic Laboratory and presented expert testimony regarding Bloodstain Pattern Analysis. The jury also heard from one of the victim’s other daughters, who testified about the relationship between Carlene and Lara Conley. She also discussed her mother’s life prior to when she was murdered. The Commonwealth presented dozens of witnesses and hundreds of exhibits over five days before resting its case.

During the defense’s case in chief, Lara Conley testified in her own defense. She claimed the victim hit her in the head with an object and she was unable to recall anything that happened after that. The defense attorneys argued Lara Conley was acting in self defense and under an extreme emotional disturbance. Under cross-examination, however, Lara Conley said she was not sure if she feared for her life at the time she murdered her mother because she could not remember. 

Closing arguments were made on March 23, 2017, and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Lawrence Hilton highlighted the evidence in the case, along with the multiple inconsistent and uncorroborated versions of the events the Defendant provided.

 Ultimately, it took the jury a little over 3 hours to return a verdict finding Lara Conley guilty of Murder. After a sentencing hearing, the jury deliberated for approximately 30 minutes regarding a sentence before making a recommendation of 27 years in prison.

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One Comment

  1. Tim Gregory says:

    What happened with the retrial in 2019??

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