St. Louis man sentenced to life in death of son and 2 others

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A man who killed his 10-month-old son, ex-girlfriend and her mother in 2012 was spared the death penalty Thursday after a St. Louis jury instead recommended he be sentenced to life in prison.

Eric Lawson, 32, was convicted on Saturday of shooting and killing his ex-girlfriend, Breiana Ray, 22, and her mother, Gwendolyn Ray, 50, at their apartment on May 5, 2012. He then set two fires inside the apartment and locked the door as he left, trapping his 10-month-old son, Aiden, prosecutors said.

Aiden’s 3-year-old sister, Mckenzie Ray, suffered smoke inhalation but survived.

The jury sentence recommendation came after several of Lawson’s relatives testified about his upbringing in poverty, lack of family support and exposure to violence, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Michael Noble accepted the jury’s recommendation.

The Missouri Attorney General’s Office tried the case because Robert Steele, a former prosecutor with the Circuit Attorney’s Office, had counseled Lawson while Steele was a public defender.