TODAY: Judges hear more grisly details of quadruple murders

February 22, 2019

IRONTON — More gruesome details have come out in court as a three-judge panel weighs whether Arron Lawson, who pleaded guilty Thursday to murdering four family members in 2017, deserves the death penalty.

Lawson, 25, admitted in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court he killed four family members, who ranged in age from 8 to 50, and injured a fifth in October 2017.

His victims — Stacey Holston, 24; her son, Devin Holston, 8; Stacey’s mother and Lawson’s aunt, Tammie L. McGuire, 43; and McGuire’s husband, Donald McGuire, 50 — were shot to death Oct. 11, 2017, at the Holstons’ Pedro, Ohio, home.

Todd Holston, Stacey Holston’s husband, also was stabbed with a pocketknife inside the family’s trailer during the attack, but survived his injuries.

Authorities say Lawson waited for hours at the Pedro home and one by one shot his victims as they entered the home throughout the day after Stacey Holston, his cousin, broke off an affair between the two.

Other charges to which Lawson admitted his guilt include aggravated burglary, attempted murder and felonious assault of Todd Holston, the rape of Stacey Holston, abuse of a corpse, kidnapping of Devin Holston, tampering with evidence, theft of a motor vehicle and failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer.

Last week, after the completion of two weeks of jury selection, Lawson waived his right to jury trial and instead opted to have his case heard by a panel of three Ohio judges: Alan Corbin, Clermont County, and Janet Burnside, Cuyahoga County, joining Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Andy Ballard.

On Friday, the judges learned that Devin Holston’s body had been found in a room with the bodies of Stacey Holston and Donald McGuire.

The boy’s whereabouts and safety had triggered an Amber Alert and multi-agency response in the hours after Lawson’s crimes were discovered. He initially was entered in the National Crime Information Center as a missing, endangered child the night of Oct. 11, but that advisory was canceled early the next day after his body was found covered in dirty clothing on the backside of a dresser.

Tammie McGuire, Lawson’s aunt who lived less than a mile from the Holstons, was allegedly shot twice by Lawson after agreed to check on the family at Todd Holston’s request. On Friday, testimony indicated that her tongue was found on a kitchen counter near the stove, where blood splatter evidence and shotgun shell fragments indicated she had been shot in that area of the home.

Her body was found in the laundry room of the home, and gunshot residue on her person indicated she had been shot at close contact.

Lawrence County Prosecutor Brigham Anderson is working to prove Lawson’s offenses were pre-planned and aggravated and that he deserves the death penalty. The offenses that Anderson says are aggravated are that Lawson had pre-planned the attack against Stacey Holston and killed the McGuires to cover up the crime. Devin’s murder was aggravated because of his age.

The panel of judges also is expecting to hear from a medical examiner today regarding the autopsies of Lawson’s four victims.

This is a developing story. Check back for more information as it becomes available.