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Court hears grisly details after guilty plea in 4 slayings

February 25, 2019

IRONTON, Ohio (AP) — The way the killer told it, the young boy was the second of the four relatives slain. The boy’s mother was already dead, and he was asking too many questions, so the guy sent the kid to a bedroom with the false promise of finding a video game system there, then shot him.

His body, hidden under clothing next to a dresser, wouldn’t be found until the next day, after his mother and her mother and stepfather were found dead and a missing-child alert was issued.

The gruesome details are being recounted for a three-judge panel as they consider whether the confessed attacker, Arron Lawson, should be sentenced to prison or death for the October 2017 slayings at a home near Ironton, in southern Ohio’s Lawrence County.

Lawson, 24, pleaded guilty last week to 13 counts, including aggravated murder.

Prosecutors allege he killed the boy’s mother — Lawson’s cousin — and other members of her family after she broke off an affair with Lawson. A then-2-year-old child at the home was spared.

Lawson also was accused of stabbing and wounding his cousin’s husband when the man arrived at the home after the others were killed. He resorted to using a pocketknife because he was out of ammunition, The Ironton Tribune reported.

Prosecutors argue Lawson’s actions were planned and intentional: He’d previously wedged a book into a window at the home so he could slip back in and hide until after the boy left for school. He later called the school pretending to be the boy’s father to make sure he would go home after class, not go to see his grandparents. Lawson also packed a backpack of supplies, including a ski mask, toilet paper and a flashlight, but he left it behind when he fled after the stabbing.

He surrendered after a two-day manhunt and gave a recorded confession that was played in court.

Defense attorney Kirk McVay argued the detailed confession reflected Lawson’s remorse, The Herald-Dispatch in nearby Huntington, West Virginia, reported.

In defending him, McVay also said Lawson was raised in a poor family in which he was bullied.

McVay further contends Lawson’s parents abused and neglected him, The Daily Independent of Ashland, Kentucky, reported.