Mo. man charged in deaths of 3, including baby son

May 7, 2012 GMT

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis man killed his ex-girlfriend and her mother, then set a fire that killed his own 10-month-old son, authorities said.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/JixAtH ) reports that 23-year-old Eric Lawson has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder and nine other charges, including arson. Police said Lawson told officers he did it because he was upset with his former girlfriend, but he didn’t elaborate.

Authorities said that on Saturday, Lawson took a semiautomatic 9 mm gun to the upstairs apartment of his ex-girlfriend, Breiana Ray, 22. He is accused of shooting Ray and her mother, 50-year-old Gwendolyn Ray, in the head.


Authorities believe Lawson then set two fires in the apartment and locked the door as he exited, trapping his 10-month-old son, Aiden, and a 3-year-old girl who was Breiana Ray’s daughter. The girl is hospitalized in critical condition.

Lawson did not yet have a listed attorney.

By Sunday afternoon, the girl’s father, Brandon Howard, showed up, learned what had happened and broke down in tears before rushing to the hospital.

Debra Darrough, a longtime friend of Gwendolyn Ray, was also in tears after stopping by the apartment with her daughter, Patricia Shipp.

“She just celebrated her 50th birthday” the day before, Darrough said. “She will be missed.”

Shipp said Breiana Ray and Lawson dated on and off since high school. She didn’t know what might have prompted the fatal disagreement.

“Miss Ray wouldn’t let them fight in the house,” she said.

Firefighters found Breiana Ray in the kitchen and her mother on the stairs leading to the third floor.

Charges against Lawson say he admitted shooting the two adults, then used a lighter to set fire to a bed and a recliner.

Randy Carter, 25, who lives in a different apartment in the same building, described Gwendolyn and Breiana Ray as friendly and often surrounded by friends and family.


Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com