At what was expected to be a preliminary hearing, the accused murderer of Fullerton College student Lynsie Ekelund pleaded guilty today. Christopher Michael McAmis, 32, will serve a sentence of 15 years to life for murdering 20-year-old Ekelund in 2001 at his Whittier apartment.
Ekelund disappeared Feb. 17, 2001, after spending a night out with McAmis. The former Fullerton resident claimed he dropped her off in the early morning near her Placentia home. But following his 2010 arrest, investigators said he confessed to attempting to rape Ekelund at his apartment, then strangling her and burying her corpse at a construction site where he worked in Santa Clarita.
While the young woman's mother, Nancy Ekelund, spent nearly 10 years trying to keep her missing daughter's case in the minds of reporters and detectives alike, McAmis married and had a daughter of his own. He lived a few miles from where he claimed to have last seen Ekelund, working construction jobs and operating a video-game website. He has been held without bail for 538 days, and spent most of that time in Los Angeles County Jail.
The admitted killer spent most of today's hearing staring at the floor while standing in the courtroom's glass booth, clad in an orange jumpsuit with his hands shackled. He quietly answered yes to questions posed by Los AngelesDeputy District Attorney Michael Michelena informing him of his rights. Nearby, Lynsie's parents, Nancy and Stewart Ekelund, watched stoically before stepping before the court to give impact statements.
"I don't know if you're sorry for this," Nancy told McAmis in a meek voice. "It doesn't make any difference anymore." She also explained to the court that her daughter was a loving and naive person who trusted everyone. "She trusted Chris."
During her impact statement, family friend Kimberly Keith sobbed as she looked at McAmis and asked him how he would feel if someone treated his daughter the way he had treated Lynsie. "I don't believe you have a heart," she said.
In addition to his prison sentence, McAmis was ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution and parole fees, as well as supply a sample of his DNA to law enforcement. His wife, Kim, who proclaimed his innocence to the Weekly in 2010 and has been at many of his hearings, was not present today.
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss OC Weekly's biggest stories. Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts