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Woman Accused of Shooting Deak Held Master’s Degree

November 21, 1985 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) _ A woman accused of killing a financier and his receptionist was a well- dressed, conscientious graduate student in the 1960s who returned to campus recently looking like a shopping bag lady, professors said Wednesday.

Lois Lang, charged with two counts of murder in Monday’s fatal shooting of 80-year-old Nicholas Deak, chairman of Deak-Perera U.S., and Frances Lauder, received a master’s degree in physical education from the University of Illinois in 1968. She wrote a thesis on the physiology of women’s athletics.

″I just don’t believe it,″ said Marianna Trekell, a professor in the physical education department. ″She was always well-prepared and conscientious, well-dressed and well-groomed.″

But Miss Lang, 44, was a different woman when she returned to the school’s Champaign-Urbana campus this fall to request a scholarship to resume her studies, Ms. Trekell and a former teacher said.

″Everyone who had contact with her was stunned,″ Ms. Trekell said. ″She looked like a bag lady,″ wearing an old coat and with a hat pulled down over her head and carrying her possessions in a pack.

Miss Lang ″looked like she’d been pulled through a keyhole,″ said Thomas Cureton, a retired professor who was her thesis adviser. He said he gave her $20 after she asked for money.

″She said she needed to get something to eat,″ he said. ″She looked like she needed it. ... She’s lost a lot of weight.″

″She seemed lost,″ Cureton added. ″She didn’t know where she was going or what she was going to do.″

Law enforcement sources in New York said Miss Lang apparently believed the government had given her Deak-Perera, the nation’s largest non-bank dealer in currency and precious metals.

When Deak & Co., a separate company, filed for protection under federal bankruptcy laws last year, Miss Lang became convinced that Deak had mismanaged the firm, and she decided to kill him, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Murray Bernstein, one of her court-appointed lawyers, said he had not requested a psychiatric exam ″because there was no indication ... there was anything wrong with her mental faculties.″

Miss Lang told police she arrived in New York on Monday after a bus trip from Orlando, Fla. At about 9:30 a.m., she went to the company’s 21st-floor offices and asked to see Deak. She was led out.


Police said she returned about two hours later and fired two shots at Mrs. Lauder then shot Deak.

″Now, you’ve got yours,″ Miss Lang said to Deak, according to police.

Police in the Seattle area reported several encounters with Miss Lang since 1982, including one in which she tried to grab an officer’s gun and another in which she threatened a cafeteria employee at the University of Washington.

Miss Lang, who usually wore a green ″Robin Hood″ hat with a red feather, was a fixture on the Washington campus until three months ago, when she left for New York and told an officer she was going to ″to rule the world,″ police said.