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Peninsula market killer’s insanity plea accepted, committed to Western State Hospital

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Laura Sorensen appears in court in August 2012. (Photo: KCPQ-TV)

TACOMA — A 21-year-old woman who shot 3 men, killing one, in a Key Peninsula grocery store last year was found not guilty by reason of insanity Thursday and committed indefinitely to Western State Hospital, the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office said.

In the unusual courtroom hearing, prosecutors did not object to the insanity plea, and Laura Sorensen was immediately sentenced to commitment at Western State.

“Hopefully, she’ll be there for a very long time,” Pierce County prosecutor Mark Lindquist said.

According to court documents, Sorensen said she heard voices telling her to kill pedophiles before she walked into the Peninsula Market in the Wauna area on Aug. 11, 2012, and opened fire with a .357 magnum. She struck three men; one died later from his wounds.  She told two women in the store that she would not hurt them, prosecutors said.

The News Tribune of Tacoma said the most recent medical health evaluation of Sorensen filed three weeks ago said:  “Ms. Sorensen has been suffering from a severe, persistent mental disorder all of her adult life, all of her adolescence and probably much of her childhood. She lacks insight into her mental condition and has a history of non-compliance with treatment, some episodes of which have been related to past acts of violence towards others. … Ms. Sorensen poses a high risk for engaging in future acts that are dangerous to others … she is not safe to be conditionally released to the community.”

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