SANDPOINT — A plea hearing for a Tennessee man indicted for the slaying of his wife remains on hold.
The hearing has been put off twice in Stephen Mathew Lott’s case twice because the defense is still waiting to receive transcripts from grand jury proceedings which led to the indictment, according to 1st District Court records. The plea hearing is now planned for Aug. 28. Lott is being held at the Bonner County Jail with bail set at $1 million.
Lott, 48, is accused of killing his wife, Christine, on or about March 25, 2004. Stephen Lott reportedly told investigators that he saw his wife get into a vehicle outside a Priest River grocery store.
The cause of death is undetermined, according to Bonner County Prosecutor Louis Marshall. However, the state intends to argue at trial that the killing was premeditated.
Christine Lott’s disappearance was investigated as a missing persons case. Her remains were discovered in a remote and forested area east of Coeur d’Alene in February 2016, although Kootenai County Sheriff’s investigators didn’t reveal the discovery until December 2017.
Sheriff’s officials in Bonner County said Stephen Lott had long been considered a suspect in the mother of three’s disappearance and ultimately left the area and took up residence in Tempe, Ariz., and Mufreesboro, Tenn. Christine Lott’s family members told investigators that she would never abandon her children.
The investigation into the woman’s disappearance picked up momentum in June, when Stephen Lott allegedly tried to explain away the woman’s disappearance by claiming in letter in June that she had committed suicide, remarks which clashed badly with statements he gave to investigators, Bonner County sheriff’s officials have said. Stephen Lott was arrested in Tennessee in June and did not fight extradition back to Idaho, court records show.
Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.