Crime

Man charged in fatal Tacoma hammer attack said it was an ‘accident’

Nicholas Lane pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder at his arraignment in Pierce County Superior Court on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2014. His bail was set at $2 million.
Nicholas Lane pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder at his arraignment in Pierce County Superior Court on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2014. His bail was set at $2 million. Staff photographer

A man charged with attacking a mother and son with a hammer, killing the son and critically injuring the mother, called the beating an “accident.”

Pierce County prosecutors on Wednesday charged Nicholas Lane, 27, with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder. He pleaded not guilty and was ordered held in lieu of $2 million bail.

The 78-year-old Tacoma woman remains on life support at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Her slain son, 57, has not yet been identified.

Police said the son, who was physically disabled, was hit in the face with a ball peen hammer five or six times. He was found on a bedroom floor and died at the hospital.

His mother was found in her recliner. She was struck in both eye sockets and the face with the hammer, police said.

Lane’s mother rented a basement room in the house in the 5800 block of East I Street. She lived there with both victims and another man. Lane had been staying with his mother for three days before the attack.

Charging papers give this account:

Lane, his mother and another man were downstairs talking about 2:15 p.m when Lane disappeared upstairs. His mother heard running, which was unusual.

Lane then reappeared downstairs with a hammer in his hand and said, “See Mom, I told you my head” was messed up, records show. “I just killed two people.”

A man in his room upstairs heard a woman scream and opened his bedroom door to see Lane walking down the hallway with a hammer. He called 911 to report that his friend was being beaten.

When police arrived, they found Lane in the backyard. He had put clean pants on over blood-stained clothing and tried to cut his hair.

He told detectives he “just snapped” and had been awake for three days using drugs.

Lane’s mother told police he recently used methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana.

Lane referred to the incident as an accident and asked, “Isn’t there a place I can go to prove myself for three to four days instead of 50 years?”

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653

stacia.glenn@thenewstribune.com

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