Attorney Seeks Posthumous Pardon For Laurie 'Bambi' Bembenek
Wisconsin's famous escaped convict once inspired “Run Bambi Run” shirts; her lawyer now says DNA will clear her name.
MADISON, WI — The attorney for Laurie "Bambi" Bembenek is seeking a posthumous pardon for his late client, a former Playboy Club hostess turned Milwaukee police officer who was convicted of murder in 1982 for shooting her husband’s ex-wife. Bembenek always maintained her innocence.
Mary Woehrer, Bembenek’s attorney, filed a pardon request earlier this year with Wisconsin governor Tony Evers. Woehrer states that new ballistics and DNA evidence conclusively prove that Bembenek was innocent.
On July 15, 1990, Larie Bembenek became something of a local legend after she broke free from the Taycheedah Correctional Institution by crawling out a laundry room window.
When news of Bembenek’s escape spread, more than 200 members of the public held a rally in Milwakuee to support her flight from prison. Many of them wore shirts that read, “Run Bambi Run!”
About three months later, the TV show America’s Most Wanted aired an episode about Bembenek. As a result, a tourist spotted her in Thunder Bay, Ontario, where she had fled with her fiancé, the brother of another inmate.
Upon returning to the U.S., Bambenek pleaded no contest to second-degree murder. Her sentence was commuted to time served, and she walked free after having been locked up for about 10 years.
Once jail was behind her, Bembenek moved into her parents’ home in Washington state. From there, Bembenek fought to clear her name until she succumbed to liver failure in 2010.
Bembenek’s wild saga generated copious tabloid coverage, several books, and two separate TV movies: Calendar Girl, Cop, Killer?: The Bambi Bembenek Story (1992) starring Lindsay Frost, and Woman on Trial: The Lawrencia Bembenek Story (1993) starring Tatum O’Neal, as well as the 2018 Investigation Discovery show Vanity Fair Confidential: Was Bambi Framed?
Regardless of the past hoopla, lawyer Mary Woehrer is focused on getting her client pardoned. As she told the press, “Laurie Bembenek was not a murderer. She murdered no one. She was wrongly convicted."
For more on this case, watch the "Run Bambi Run" episode of Investigation Discovery's On the Case With Paula Zahn on ID GO now!
Read more: WTMJ