WATE: BELL COUNTY, KY On Monday, a Kentucky lady appeared in court about the death of her 17-month-old daughter.
After her daughter died in August 2023, Erica Lawson was charged with murder by a grand jury. She is accused of homicide, wanton endangerment, and neglecting to report child abuse or dependency.
On July 28, 2023, the infant was brought to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. There, the medical personnel made an effort to preserve her life, but the girl’s severe injuries caused her to pass away a few days later.
Lawson, who is being jailed in Bourbon County, Kentucky, made an appearance by Zoom on Monday in Bell County Circuit Court. The move to dismiss the case was submitted by her defense team, asking the court to rule that the death penalty is not an option.
Judge Keith Nagle agreed to reschedule the motion hearing for March 20 after hearing from Lisa Fugate, the state attorney for Bell County, and Lawson’s defense team. Fugate had asked for more time to reply to the move. She claimed that on Friday, the state received the motion.
Gregory Coulson, Lawson’s attorney, stated that the defense has been awaiting an explanation from the state regarding why the death penalty is appropriate in this particular instance.
“I find it noteworthy, your honor, that the Commonwealth took the time to reply to the other outstanding motions after receiving this one, but they did not reply to this one. Coulson stated at the hearing that “this motion, the original motion for the bill of particulars, was raised in arraignment five months ago.”
Among the other motions he’s mentioning is one that would permit the defense to see the state’s evidence in the absence of any staff members.
Nagle gave this motion a partial grant. He clarified that while the state representative does not need to be present for the defense team to assess the evidence, the officer in charge of the evidence must.
Fugate declared that her team will reply to the motion and that she will keep pushing for the death penalty.
“This is a 17-month-old child who was killed by people who, if discovered, will face full legal consequences,” Fugate declared. “And in this particular case, Erica Lawson, the mother, is currently facing the death penalty. Her circumstances are mitigating. We submitted the notification. We won’t willingly take that away.
Nagle stated that the state’s memo on the bill of particulars must be filed by February 17 at the latest. After that, the defense will have until March 8 to submit a reply. The hearing has been rescheduled for March 20 at 9:00 a.m.
The defense team’s motion included references to the state attorney’s social media posts.
“We’re just waiting on DNA,” the Commonwealth has stated in public remarks for some time now. Even though the DNA results were available a full week prior to the Commonwealth making those public declarations, the saying “We’re just waiting on DNA” persisted. The Commonwealth, your honor, has no intention of replying to this, Coulson stated.
In January 2024, the move to dismiss was submitted. It states that there is “zero evidence that any person sexually abused the child” and that Lawson’s case was handled hurriedly.
Additionally, the motion said that the child’s male DNA had not been discovered. Fugate claimed that this and other claims made in the motion were deceptive. She mentioned that additional testing needs to be done.
“That is wholly false, and testing on that is not finished. To compare the DNA that is pending at the moment, there have actually been, I believe, four male buckle standards, or DNA standards, according to Fugate.