Tuesday, January 15, 2002

Man admits killing toddler

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — A 22-year-old Middletown man will spend at least 30 years in prison, but he avoided the death penalty by pleading guilty Monday in the slaying of his girlfriend's 2-year-old son.

        E.Y. Lawson admitted in court he purposely caused the death of Christopher David Long, then turned to the child's mother, Candy Long, and with a contorted expression on his face, said: “I'm sorry.”

        But Ms. Long retorted: “I don't have any sympathy for you. You're showing remorse now that you're pleading guilty.”

        In accordance with a plea agreement between prosecutors and defense lawyer Jerry M. Bryant, a three-judge panel sentenced Mr. Lawson to life in prison with parole eligibility after 30 years.

        Mr. Lawson faced a possible death sentence if convic ted in a trial that was scheduled to begin next week.

        Christopher Long died last April of multiple impacts to his head, and also suffered other injuries including a broken ankle.

        His grandmother, Teresa Long of Middletown, told Mr. Lawson in court: “You ended his life with your bare, vicious, sick hands ... I hope it haunts you every day and night.“

        She later said the family agreed to allow the plea to avoid enduring a long trial.

        “I'm just so happy that everyone realizes his guilt now that he's admitted it,” the grandmother said.

        Prosecutor Robin Piper said he and his team were ready to go to trial, but agreed to the plea because “this puts a definite conclusion to this case,” which the victim's family wanted.

        Candy Long declined to comment, and members of Mr. Lawson's family also left without comment.


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