Friday, June 01, 2001

Middletown man could be executed in death of tot

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — A Middletown man could get the death penalty if convicted of killing his girlfriend's 2-year-old son.

        In an indictment made public Thursday, a Butler County grand jury issued an aggravated murder charge against E.Y. Lawson, 22, with a death penalty specification that the victim was a child under the age of 13.

        Mr. Lawson is accused in the April 17 death of Christopher David Long, whom Mr. Lawson had been baby-sitting when the child stopped breathing April 16. The Hamilton County Coroner's Office, which investigated because the child died at Children's Hospital Medical Center, ruled that Christopher died from a brain injury caused by “multiple blunt impacts to (the) head and whiplash injuries to (the) neck.”

        Mr. Lawson remains in the Butler County Jail awaiting a June 13 arraignment on the charge. His bond is $250,000.

        His attorney, Jerry M. Bryant of Middletown, couldn't be reached for comment Thursday.

        Craig Hedric, who handled about 10 death penalty cases as a defense lawyer, has been assigned this case — his first death penalty case as a Butler County assistant prosecutor.

        He declined to comment on the indictment.

        In a Middletown Municipal Court hearing May 1, a doctor testified 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 that Mr. Lawson admitted he had shaken the child.


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