LANCASTER – A jury has found a Palmdale woman guilty of first-degree murder for shooting a 29-year-old woman whom she had a romantic relationship with after meeting through Craigslist, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.
A jury on Thursday also found true a special allegation that Larene Eleanor Austin, 33, used a handgun to kill LaNell Barsock in 2010 at Barsock’s east Palmdale home.
Austin has been jailed since January of 2012, when she was captured in Belize after the case was publicized on “America’s Most Wanted.”
According to court testimony, Austin and Barsock became friends after meeting in the personal ads section of Craiglist, and the friendship evolved into a romantic relationship. When Barsock dumped Austin to focus on her relationship with her boyfriend, Austin shot Barsock in the back of the head. She then tried to cover her tracks by framing Barsock’s boyfriend for the killing, according to court testimony.
Austin fled the country once the man was cleared by police.
The case was featured on an episode of “America’s Most Wanted” in December of 2011, and tipsters directed authorities to the Central American country of Belize. Austin was captured in Belize on Jan. 25, 2012, and extradited to the United States.
Her capture was also featured on “America’s Most Wanted” in February of 2012.
Austin pleaded not guilty in September of 2012, and after several delays, the murder trial began last month. DNA and other forensic evidence were presented during the 21-day trial.
Austin is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 26.
She faces up to 50 years to life in state prison, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
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View a promotional clip for Larene Austin’s first profile on America’s Most Wanted, which aired in December 2011.