Two of three Ohio judges appointed to Lawson panel

February 19, 2019
Courtney Hessler/The Herald-DispatchArron L. Lawson discusses with Judge Andy Ballard his wish to enter a plea in Lawrence County Court on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019.

The Herald-Dispatch

IRONTON — The Supreme Court of Ohio has appointed a judge to join the three-judge panel now charged with deciding the fate of Lawrence County quadruple-murder suspect Arron L. Lawson.

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

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

Other charges against Lawson 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.

According to the Supreme Court of Ohio judicial assignment webpage, former Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Janet Burnside was assigned Feb. 15 to join the case. She will join Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Andy Ballard, who has been over the case since Lawson’s indictment, in hearing the accusations in the case and determining if Lawson will receive the death penalty.

The judges are now waiting for a third judge to be assigned before the case can move forward.

After two weeks of jury selection, opening arguments had been slated to begin in the trial Feb. 11, but were delayed Feb. 12 after Lawson waived his rights to a jury trial and instead elected to have a panel of three judges hear his case and decide his punishment.

Lawrence County Prosecutor Brigham Anderson said he understands Lawson wishes to enter a plea once he gets before the panel, which would leave the judges deciding if Lawson will be put to death for the alleged crimes.

Anderson said he will still present evidence to show the crimes were aggravated if Lawson enters a plea.

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