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Island County coroner describes ‘savage’ attack on grandfathers
The 30-year-old man who’s accused of killing his grandfather in what the Island County coroner called “the most savage attack” he’s ever seen was charged Thursday with first-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping.
Joshua Lambert, a transient who lived in the Oak Harbor area, remains a suspect in a second, equally brutal murder of his other grandfather. The stabbing deaths of the two men, both 80 years old, occurred at separate North Whidbey homes Oct. 3.
Island County Coroner Robert Bishop said George Lambert and August “Gene” Eisner were each stabbed about 30 times in the neck and trunk. Bishop said it’s clear from the autopsy that the men were stabbed with a knife, though the witness reported seeing what she thought was an ice pick.
“It was really a brutal, savage attack,” the longtime coroner said. “It’s easily the most savage attack I’ve ever seen.”
Prosecutors charged Lambert in Island County Superior Court with the premeditated murder of George Lambert and the kidnapping of his grandfather’s sister, Kay Gage. If convicted of the charges, he would face a minimum of 28 and a half years in prison under the standard sentencing range.
Lambert is scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 17.
Detectives from the Island County Sheriff’s Office, with help from the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab, are still investigating Eisner’s murder. No charges have been filed in that case.
Bishop said the knife wounds on the two victims are “very, very similar.”
Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks said the motive for the attacks appeared to be that Lambert wanted his grandfathers’ guns.
At the time of the attacks, George Lambert, a widower and longtime Oak Harbor resident, had been living with his sister, 66-year-old Kay Gage, at a home on Oldenburg Lane.
According to a report by Detective Ed Wallace with the Island County Sheriff’s Office, Gage was outside the home at about 1:30 p.m. when Joshua Lambert came walking up the driveway and asked to see his grandfather. Lambert went into the house, but Gage heard a commotion a few minutes later and went inside to investigate.
She saw the younger Lambert holding what she thought was an ice pick but turned out to be a knife in blood-covered hands. He struck her over the head, bound her hands and feet with packing tape and demanded to know where the guns were, the affidavit states.
“Kay was left on the floor at George’s feet where she watched him die while she heard Joshua ransack the house for approximately an hour,” Wallace wrote.
Finally, Lambert took the keys to Gage’s Chrysler Pacifica and left after threatening to kill her if she called the police, the report states. She managed to get her hands loose enough to call for help.
Deputies responded to the scene of the murder at about 3 p.m., then responded to another 911 call about a half an hour later from a home on Hastie Lake Road. There they discovered the body of August Eisner.
The sheriff’s office has released few details about the Eisner murder. Bishop said Eisner had been living in an apartment next to his daughter’s home. The stabbing occurred outside.
Oak Harbor police arrested Lambert at about 5 p.m., which was an hour and a half after the second body was discovered.
Island County Sheriff Mark Brown said Lambert was covered in blood and was carrying a suspected illegal substance.
According to the Island County Prosecutor’s Office, in the past Lambert has been convicted of “eight misdemeanors and several felonies, including assault with a deadly weapon, unlawful possession of a firearm, and drug charges.”
Banks said Lambert had been released from prison in Alaska sometime in the last year after serving time for assault with a deadly weapon.
According to documents from the Alaska Court of Appeals, Lambert and Edward Taualo brandished rocks to assault a man in the city of Kodiak on Sept. 6, 2005. Taualo told police he had been drinking with Lambert at a bar and Lambert recruited him to assault the man, claiming the man had sexually assaulted his ex-girlfriend. The police investigated and found the man hadn’t assaulted or had any sexual contact with the woman.