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Request to drop capital punishment denied in quadruple homicide case

Will continue as death penalty case

A request to drop the death penalty by the defense team of Arron Lawson, suspect in a quadruple homicide last October in Decatur Township, was denied in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court on Monday.

The motion, which stated, “to dismiss capital components of this case due to constitutional and international law violations,” was one of at least 50 filed by the defense, in which several have been granted, several have been denied, and some still need to be heard in court. It was, however, the only one of note that doesn’t fall under standard procedural practices. On Monday, defense motions 11-26 were heard.

The motion to drop the capital components of the case argued several points, including that Ohio’s death penalty is unconstitutional and violates the United States’ obligations under international laws and treaties, and that the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment among others.

“We argued that the court shouldn’t dismiss the capital components in this case because it’s not consistent with Ohio law or federal law,” Lawrence County Prosecutor Brigham Anderson said. “The court denied that motion, so it will continue as a death penalty case.”

Defense motions 1-10 were heard in the beginning of February, and 27-40 will be heard at 10 a.m. Friday, April 20. A hearing for the remaining defense motions will be set at that time.

Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Andy Ballard, who is presiding over the case, previously said that questionnaires would be sent out to 200 potential jury members on Monday, May 21, who will then be chosen in a special jury draw. The evidence of the case is also still currently sealed at this time.

Trial is set to begin Monday, Aug. 6.