SANDPOINT — Attorneys in the first-degree murder case pending against Stephen Mathew Lott have agreed to enter into mediation, 1st District Court records show.
The mediation, which will be presided over by Senior District Judge Steve Verby, could lead to resolution of the case without a trial. Lott remains held at the Bonner County Jail with bail set at $1 million.
Bonner County Prosecutor Louis Marshall and Chief Public Defender Janet Whitney proposed mediation on May 16 and Judge Barbara Buchanan approved the request on May 17.
Lott, 49, is accused of killing his wife, Christine Lott, in 2004 and failing to notify authorities of the death in order to conceal the crime. Lott had long been considered a suspect in his wife’s disappearance, although charges didn’t materialize until last year, when a Bonner County grand jury indicted him.
Lott told investigators his wife left him and their three kids, although members of Christine Lott’s family disputed that she would ever abandon her children.
Christine Lott’s remains were discovered in a remote and forested area east of Coeur d’Alene in 2016, although investigators didn’t disclose the discovery until a year later in order to protect the investigation.
The grand jury indictment resulted in Stephen Lott’s arrest in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Idaho’s criminal court rules allow for mediation, which can bring about reduced charges or agreements on sentencing recommendations. The mediation is conducted behind closed doors and what’s discussed during the proceedings is kept confidential.
The outcome of the mediation, if any, is disclosed in court records or open court.
A pretrial hearing in the case is set for Sept. 20 in case the mediation does not produce a resolution.
Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.