Justin Lunsford Gets 23 Years in Prison For Fatally Stabbing Woman Before Setting House on Fire

Justin Wade Lunsford
A Cave Creek man who stabbed a woman to death before setting her house on fire has been sentenced to 23 years in prison, Maricopa County Superior Court officials announced this afternoon.

Justin Wade Lunsford pleaded guilty in to second-degree murder and arson of an occupied structure in the death of 29-year-old Mary Elisabeth Polgar in February. According to court officials, he was sentenced today to 18 years in prison for the murder and five years for the arson.

The sentences are to run consecutively.

On July 8, 2008, neighbors reported that Polgar's Cave Creek home was on fire.

Firefighters discovered Polgar's nude and nearly decapitated body in an unburned part of the house, with stab wounds on her head, neck, abdomen, back, and groin.

Lunsford became a suspect after it was reported that Polgar was last seen leaving a Cave Creek bar with him the night before her death.

During the investigation, a friend of Lunsford's told sheriff's deputies Lunsford told him that drug dealers had killed Polgar and that he was being framed for her murder.

The friend said Lunsford then doused Polgar's home and car with gasoline and set them on fire to destroy the evidence that would "frame" him.

Investigators located and arrested Lunsford using cell phone records nearly a week after Polgar's death.

*Matthew Hendley contributed to this post.

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I just came back from the sentencing and many facts reported are incorrect. Mr lunsford pleaded ' no contest' to the charges for various reasons one of which is to avoid arizona's bassakwards statutes on death penalty issues.this means he is neither guilty or is not guiltyalso he never stabbed any pets ,much erroneously spoken about by the missinformed.

Marlen Carlsgaard
Marlen Carlsgaard

I am dissappointed that Lunsford didn't get the maximum of 35 years for killing Lizzie.  He  should be held until Hell freezes over as far as I and most of Lizzie's family and friends are concerned.  He robbed her of eveything, he should have nothing in life as the result. 


The quotation "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." comes from Shakespeare's Hamlet, Act III, scene II. The phrase has come to mean that one can "insist so passionately about something not being true that people suspect the opposite of what one is saying."[1]Perhaps he that is now insisting passionately that Mr. Lunsford get more punishment could be the guilty party?

Marlene Carlsgaard
Marlene Carlsgaard

Your quote is inappropriate, I was not protesting but stating my heart felt opinion.  Either you didn’t bother to keep track of the case evidence or you’re a personal friend of Lunsford.  Either way I pity you, for lack of intelligence and common sense or in picking your friends.  Obviously, killing someone for drug money is ‘OK’ in your estimation.  You last statement just shows how uninformed you are about this case/trial and who I am.

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