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Isenberg trial delayed

Staff Writer | July 29, 2020 1:09 AM

Prosecutors outline plan to introduce evidence

The murder trial of Laurcene “Lori” Isenberg was further postponed due to an Idaho Supreme Court order that delays criminal jury trials until Sept. 14 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

At a pretrial conference at the Kootenai County Courthouse Tuesday morning, Judge Scott Wayman affirmed the trial would be rescheduled due to the Supreme Court order.

Isenberg’s attorney, Jed Nixon, argued for restarting the trial in December, but Wayman did not announce a new trial date.

Isenberg pleaded guilty to embezzlement in 2019. She was convicted of defrauding the North Idaho Housing Coalition of $570,000. Isenberg generated thousands of forged invoices to defraud federal and state funds when she was director of North Idaho Housing Coalition, a nonprofit for needy families. Isenberg’s two daughters were also found guilty of conspiracy to commit program theft.

In January, Isenberg was indicted on counts of premeditated murder and conspiracy in the death of her husband, Larry Isenberg, who died in 2018 under suspicious circumstances. Isenberg alleges that Larry fell from the couple’s boat on Feb. 13, 2018.

Larry Isenberg’s body was found in Lake Coeur d’Alene after a two-week search. Autopsy revealed he had likely died of an overdose of Benadryl.

Due to pandemic-related complications in jury selection, the Idaho Supreme Court decided to further delay criminal jury trials.

Under a previous order, criminal jury cases were delayed until Aug. 3. Due to health concerns, people over the age of 65 can be excluded from jury duty.

Jury protocols related to COVID-19 have created fears of a mistrial. At a July 16 hearing, Wayman stated “If it turns out during jury selection process that we cannot get a jury, that creates another issue.”

Nixon has repeatedly asked for a change of venue or delay of the case. Wayman has denied those motions.

Also on July 16, Nixon entered a motion for a non-dissemination order, which would gag the prosecuting attorneys and mostly close the case off from media. Wayman denied that motion.

Court documents filed by prosecutors earlier this month announced plans to introduce a stock of evidence.

The documents allege Isenberg took steps to hide the fraud scheme from her husband “because he would have divorced her had he known and thus retained some, if not all, of their community property which was in the vicinity of $1,500,000.”

The filing alleges that Lori Isenberg took steps to kill Larry Isenberg in Florida, reading: “that the defendant poisoned Larry Isenberg in Florida with the same substance she used to poison him before he went into Lake Coeur d’Alene.”

The filing also alleges that she had been researching “Florida water depths, currents, tides, drownings, boat accidents and boat rentals.”

The documents allege that immediately after Larry Isenberg’s disappearance, Lori Isenberg liquidated all accounts and transferred other community property to herself, her daughters, and her sister, Jamie DeVault.

Prosecutors allege that prior to going to Lake Coeur d’Alene, Isenberg had researched Lake Pend Oreille, including overnight boating and lake conditions.

Isenberg is being held in the Kootenai County jail on a $2 million bond for first-degree murder. In 2019, she was sentenced to 60 months in prison for wire fraud and theft from a federal program.