Wednesday, May 02, 2001

Grand jury gets child murder case

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MIDDLETOWN - A Butler County grand jury will consider whether to indict a 22-year-old Middletown man in the death of his girlfriend's 2-year-old son.

        Municipal Judge Mark W. Wall on Tuesday decided to transfer the case against E.Y. Lawson, who is being held on a murder charge, to the grand jury after a 100-minute preliminary hearing.

        The hearing included testimony of a doctor who said the child's fatal brain injuries could not have been caused by a fall down the stairs, nor from his crib, as Mr. Lawson had suggested. Also, a detective testified Mr. Lawson admitted he had shaken Christopher David Long, who died April 17 at Children's Hospital Medical Center.

[photo] E.Y. Lawson charged with murder in the death of his girlfriend's 2-year-old son, listens to testimony Tuesday.
(Michael Snyder photo)
| ZOOM |
        Mr. Lawson, who is not the child's father, kept his chin to his chest during most of the hearing; his lawyer, Jerry M. Bryant, has described Mr. Lawson as distraught over the boy's death.

        Middletown Police Detective David Swartzel testified Mr. Lawson initially denied any wrongdoing. But, the detective said, Mr. Lawson changed his statement when confronted with doctors' opinions and police officers' suspicions the child's brain injuries weren't accidental.

        “Right away, he broke down and started crying, and said that everybody's going to be mad at him, he didn't mean to hurt him; it was his fault,” Detective Swartzel said.

        Mr. Lawson then admitted he shook the child, and when the detective asked how hard, Mr. Lawson replied: “hard enough for his head to snap forward,” Detective Swartzel said.

        Christopher died from brain injuries caused by “multiple blunt impacts to head and whiplash injuries to (the) neck,” his death certificate says.

        Some minor scrapes and bruises on the child could be considered consistent with a fall downstairs, as reported by several family members, Dr. Kathi Makoroff testified. But Christopher's widespread brain injuries appeared to require much more severe force, she said.

        Dr. Makoroff said the specific type of injury Christopher suffered could be caused by an automobile accident, extreme shaking or “a fall from greater than four stories of a building.”


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