But Amanda Hamm talked her boyfriend Maurice LaGrone into taking her and her three children to Clinton Lake for some playtime before calling it a night. It was Sept. 2, 2003, a night that ended in the loss of three young lives and accusations that would rock a small town and put Hamm and LaGrone on trial for murder.
Two juries returned two different verdicts in 2006: LaGrone was convicted of murder and a separate jury rejected murder charges against Amanda, opting instead for child endangerment. He remains in prison where he is serving a life sentence.
Amanda Hamm’s journey through the legal system did not end with her release from prison. She married and had three more children. When the state learned she was a mother for the third time, they took the children, sparking a two-year custody battle.
Race, false confessions and what it means to be a parent were among the myriad issues raises by lawyers for Hamm, LaGrone and her husband during a dozen years of legal proceedings.
Lawyers for the state maintain they got it right when they filed murder charges and removed Hamm’s three children.