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Eric Lau Gets 22 Years To Life In Prison For Killing Valley Cottage Neighbor

2009 slaying of Jami Erlich stunned community, led to manhunt that ended with killer's capture in New City.

, the Valley Cottage man who brutally killed his 32-year-old neighbor in 2009, was sentenced today to 22 years to life in state prison for the slaying that stunned Rockland County.

The murder of at her townhouse unit in Valley Cottage sparked a two-day manhunt that ended with Lau's capture in New City. Erlich, popular physical education teacher at a school in Ramapo, was well-known and respected throughout the county.

Lau, of 1 Church Lane, Apartment 1-F, Valley Cottage, pleaded guilty in April in Rockland County Court in New City before Judge William Kelly to second-degree intentional murder.

“The victim in this case was a young woman with a bright future," said Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe. "Her untimely death is a constant reminder to her family of the defendants’ depraved actions. Hopefully, her loved ones can find some degree of closure in knowing that the predator responsible has been punished and will be isolated from harming anyone else in society for many years.”

The murder took place on Nov. 29, 2009, at about 9:30 p.m., when Lau went to Erlich's home while she was out. When Erlich came home, she was attacked by Lau, who hit her across the head with a blunt object and slashed ther throat.

Lau lived in a neighboring condominium unit.

Lau evaded police for nearly 48 hours until he was arrested by Clarkstown police on Lansdale Drive in New City at about 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 1, 2009.

Executive Assistant District Attorney Stephen Moore and Supervising Assistant District Attorney Dominic Crispino prosecuted the case.

Craig S. June 22, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Hopefully Jami's karma will find its way to his prison cell, but not till he does at least 20 years,
Tigerstyle June 22, 2012 at 05:50 PM
My son lost a teacher that he loved, Jami's family lost someone that they shouldn't have. This is a young guy who loosing twenty something years of freedom...big freakin deal...I hope a neighbor of HIS in prison bashes HIS skull in and BRUTALLY slices HIS neck from ear to ear. That would put a REALLY big smile on my face, but will do nothing for Jami and little to nothing for her family. It's truly saddening to know my life and yours are worth 22 years of bad meals and bordom. You can however, sleep in a bed, work out, read, and shower. Awesome system we have here...gorgeous girl looses her life and this freak looser gets to keep his. Disgusting and heartwrenching
Mike Hirsch June 22, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Our society has lost it's way. Whatever happened to "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth?"
Issy June 22, 2012 at 06:33 PM
People got smart and realized that a bind toothless society benefits no one.
Mike Hirsch June 22, 2012 at 08:21 PM
So paying for a killer's room and board and handlers for the rest of his worthless life benefits society?
Issy June 22, 2012 at 08:39 PM
Don't be ridiculous Mike I never said any such thing. But a society based on vigilante justice and violent response to crime leads to a violent society. Yes we have rules that may protect criminals, but they also protect the innocent. I would rather live in a society like the US that errs on the side of innocence, than in a country like Iran which does not.
Tigerstyle June 22, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Issy, unfortunately amongst a great many people, the US is already a violent society. Violent crimes specifically should be dealt with harshly and severely. Sadly I don't think it would deter the vicious and the disturbed who care nothing for themselves or fellow humans, but at least permanently damaging or killing murderers such as lau would offer the same permanance as they so willingly offer to their victims. I'm not judging you as I hope you haven't murdered anyone lately, but the question always comes to my mind about your pov.....if it was YOUR mom, dad, sister, brother, CHILD, cousin, etc???
Tigerstyle June 22, 2012 at 09:37 PM
And you're correct when you say a blind, toothless society benefits no one, but neither does "rehabilitating" a convicted killer in a non-rehabilitating environment. I'm confident when I say NONE of us would accept or tolerate lau moving in next to our childs first apartment in 22 years from now.
Issy June 23, 2012 at 02:49 AM
In my life I have been robbed, shot at, held at gunpoint and as a child abducted, but at no time would I want any of the perpetrators to be punished beyond the law or to subject them to what I went through. I do not advocate any capital punishment for any crime, because a system that can kill the guilty can also kill the innocent (which has happened several times). Lau belongs in prison. And as much as I would not like Lau to to move in next door,once he has paid his dept he has to live somewhere and I suspect that there are such persons already living in our neighborhoods. FYI he is not getting out in 22 years,no early parole for this piece of ......
S.Diamond June 23, 2012 at 03:04 AM
I'll say this again - This when public execution is warranted. If it deters just 1 potential crime it's worth it.
Tigerstyle June 23, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Again Issy, these misfourtunes have been dealt directly to you. I also had unfortunate situations in my life where I was able to forgive the given perpetrator, but for Jami's or other parents that have to witness the lowering of their baby girls' lifeless body into the ground should be afforded nothing less then lau's (and the like) head on a wooden pike. It won't bring Jami back, but it'll at least be equal measures.
Issy June 23, 2012 at 07:38 PM
And what happens if the wrong person has their head put on a wooden pike? We do not need a nation of Zimmermans.
Tigerstyle June 23, 2012 at 08:28 PM
If you're advocating the system, you must believe in it as well. This particular article as well as my comments are directed toward lau and the murder of Jami Erlich. If your sure he should spend over 22yrs in jail, you seem to believe he killed her.... if your argument is to protect the innocent, I think we are in agreement...wooden pike for lau.
S.Diamond June 30, 2012 at 03:51 AM
Yep! Publically.

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