Exactly 699 days after he called 911 from the corner of an upstairs bedroom at his house near New Albany to say he thought his father had been shot, Jonah B. Lake pleaded guilty to staging the Schleppi Road home invasion and firing the six fatal gunshots.

Lake, 21, entered the plea Wednesday morning, May 22, in relation to the June 22, 2017, shooting of 51-year-old Kevin B. Lake, who died the next day.

A Franklin County grand jury had indicted Lake in November on charges of aggravated murder, murder and tampering with evidence.

It took investigators nearly 18 months to piece together the evidence that led to Lake being charged in his father’s death.

The elder Lake, a former osteopathic doctor, was set to begin a five-year federal prison sentence after pleading guilty to running a pill mill. Lake had cooperated with investigators and the family initially told investigators threats had been made against the family and both Lake men, as well as Dr. Susan Lake, the wife of the elder Lake and mother of the younger, were carrying firearms for personal protection.

Assistant Franklin County Prosecutor James Lowe described some of the detective work that resulted in the charges being filed against Lake. He said detectives pulled trash from the Lake home in Plain Township in the week following the shooting and found a piece of paper with a hole cut in it the same size as a photograph of Lake sleeping that the elder Lake had reported to the FBI as a possible threat.

Both Lake men were scheduled to take a polygraph examination about that threatening note and photograph the morning of the shooting, Lowe said.

Searches on Lake’s computer also helped lead investigators in his direction, with searches for “what decibel level will wake someone up” and “how to disappear completely.”

The May 22 plea came as Lake was scheduled to begin trial in the case. Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge Jaiza Page accepted the plea to a single count of murder and was sentenced to a mandatory term of 15 years in prison without the opportunity for parole. 

Lake did not offer any statement on his own behalf prior to sentencing. 

bbruner@dispatch.com

@bethany_bruner