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Two judges appointed to Lawson trial

Will be part of three-judge panel with Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Andy Ballard, set to begin Thursday morning

Two judges have been appointed to the quadruple murder case against Arron Lawson.

On Friday, the Ohio Supreme Court appointed retired Janet Burnside, who was elected to the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court in 1991 and retired this year.

On Tuesday, retired Brown County General/Domestic Relations Judge R. Alan Corbin was selected. He retired in 2009. They join Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Andy Ballard when the trial begins at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday.

Lawson is facing, among many charges, four death penalty cases of aggravated murder for the shooting deaths of husband and wife Donald McGuire, 50, and Tammie L. McGuire, 43, both of 15830 State Route 93, Pedro, Stacey Jackson, 25, and her son, Devin Holston, 8, of 15497 State Route 93, where the slayings occurred in 2017.

Lawson’s trial was to start on Feb. 12 after two weeks of jury selection. But, against the advice of his defense counsel, Kirk McVay, assistant Ohio state public defender, and attorney Gene Meadows, he elected to have his case heard by a panel of three judges instead of trial by jury.

Lawson said that he was originally leaning toward opting for the three-judge panel instead of a trial by jury, until he consulted with his family and defense counsel on Feb. 11.

He said when he saw his mother start to cry, he then chose the trial by jury, only to change his mind again to his original thought the next day when the trial was to start.

Lawson is facing a total of 13 charges, which include four counts of aggravated murder, all unclassified felonies, one count of attempted murder, a first-degree felony, one count of felonious assault, a second-degree felony, one count of rape, a first-degree felony, one count of abuse of a corpse, a fifth-degree felony, one count of aggravated burglary, a first-degree felony, one count of kidnapping, a first-degree felony, one count of tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, one count of theft of a motor vehicle, a fourth-degree felony, and one count of failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer, a felony of the third-degree.