Civil case leaves feeling of undone business

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Citizens should be excused if they felt a little less elation at this week’s ruling against Lori Isenberg than did key figures at the North Idaho Housing Coalition.

Kerri Thoreson, the coalition’s volunteer leader and a longtime Press columnist, was enthusiastic about Judge John Mitchell’s final door slam on Isenberg in the civil case stemming from her stealing almost $600,000 from the nonprofit. Citing the presence of racketeering in the case, Judge Mitchell tripled Isenberg’s penalty: She now owes the coalition a tidy $1.7 million.

Thoreson’s no fool. She acknowledged that having Isenberg ordered to pay $1.7 million and the coalition actually receiving that much money aren’t necessarily the same thing. But her sentiment that the civil case is now formally concluded and maybe, just maybe, life can return to something resembling normal smacked of good sense.

Yet the crowd was not cheering.

And the belief here is that the crowd won’t be cheering until Lori Isenberg and a criminal courtroom cross paths.

Formerly believed to be a model citizen, Isenberg is suspected by police of murdering her husband, Larry, who was actually known to be a model citizen.

In February, a mere four months from now, it will have been two full years since Larry Isenberg’s suspicious demise. His body was retrieved from Lake Coeur d’Alene full not of water, but of an over-the-counter allergy-relief medicine that causes drowsiness. The levels in Larry’s system were well beyond enough to kill him.

His former bride has not been charged, leaving a cloud far more grave hanging over this case than the purloining of taxpayer funds, a crime for which Lori Isenberg was sentenced to a mere five years in prison. Outside her immediate family, it is entirely possible that not one human being believes justice has been fully served.

We understand that justice isn’t always swift, that investigations meticulously managed to ensure a strong likelihood of conviction take time. And with Lori Isenberg behind bars, it isn’t as if she’s going to run off and hide somewhere, as she did during the embezzlement case. But the general public awaits quite eagerly word from the county prosecutor and Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office that somebody is being charged for the murder of Larry Isenberg.

Until then, this case isn’t closed.

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