Ex-Dairy Princess, 20, Faces Life in Prison : Murder: College student guilty of strangling former homecoming queen in quarrel over man.

from Associated Press

A college student who was once her county’s Dairy Princess faces life in prison after being convicted of murder for strangling a former homecoming queen in a quarrel over a man they both dated.

Jurors deliberated about 7 1/2 hours before returning the verdict against 20-year-old Lori Esker about midnight Thursday.

Prosecutors had argued that she was obsessed with 26-year-old Bill Buss and plotted the Sept. 20 killing of Lisa Cihaski, his new girlfriend.


Conviction of first-degree intentional homicide carries a mandatory life prison sentence. Esker will be eligible for parole in 13 years and nine months.

Her lawyer, Stephen Glynn, said strangulation is not something “that a jury can easily accept as unintentional.”

Buss, who sat near the front of the courtroom, said afterward: “My life will never return to normal again because Lisa will never be back.”

He was about to become engaged to Cihaski, a one-time homecoming queen who worked as an assistant catering manager at a motel near Wausau.

According to testimony, Esker drove 150 miles from River Falls, where she was a college student, to Wausau, waited in the parking lot where Cihaski worked, strangled her with the victim’s narrow belt, pulled a ring off her finger and drove back to River Falls.

Nine days later, she told investigators the killing was in self-defense as the argument over Buss escalated.