Weimar man charged with double murder in deaths of girlfriend, fetus

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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A Weimar man was arraigned on two murder counts Wednesday in the shooting deaths of his girlfriend and their unborn child. Making his first courtroom appearance since being arrested Sunday at his rural Catskill Drive house near Colfax, 35-year-old Lee Martin Konnerth was officially charged with murder in the slaying of Sarah Burr, 30, of Grass Valley. Prosecutors also filed a second charge of murder against Konnerth, for the death of the fetus Burr was carrying and he was identified as the father of. The fetus was a boy and had already been named Cale. The two deaths took place Sunday evening and the Placer County Sheriff’s Office had jailed Konnerth on a single, open murder charge Sunday while verifying Burr’s pregnancy. Konnerth, who is being held on a no-bail hold at the Placer County Jail, lodged standard “not guilty” pleas to the murder charges through court-appointed attorney John Lyman of the Placer County Public Defender’s Office. As well as the murder charges, Konnerth was arraigned on special allegations of multiple murder and use of a firearm during a murder. In addition, visiting Judge Angus Saint-Evens told Konnerth that he is also being charged with being in possession of a firearm after having previously been convicted as a felon in 2008. Konnerth waived his right to a preliminary hearing within 60 days and is due back in the North Auburn jail courtroom at 8:30 a.m. June 2. Lisa Moore of Sacramento, a spokesman for Burr’s family, attended the arraignment and said afterward that Burr was a wonderful mother. Burr had two daughters, ages 11 and 6. Both were at the Catskill Drive house when she was shot. Burr graduated from Nevada Union High School in 1999 and took a job the next year at Grass Valley’s Golden Empire Convalescent Hospital. At the time of her death, she was working there as a licensed vocational nurse. “She was devoted to those kids and hard working,” Moore said. “And she was extremely excited about having a little boy.” Burr died of a gunshot wound on the porch of the house and an off-duty police officer, who had heard the shot, held Konnerth at gunpoint until paramedics and deputies could arrive. “She was in a difficult relationship and it escalated quicker than she thought,” Moore said.