Friday, November 9, 2018

Lawson Case in DA's Hands, Initial Review Likely to Span Several Weeks

Posted By on Fri, Nov 9, 2018 at 12:24 PM

click to enlarge David Josiah Lawson - SUBMITTED
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  • David Josiah Lawson
Humboldt County District Attorney Maggie Fleming confirmed this morning that the Arcata Police Department has officially submitted its investigation into the 2017 stabbing death of David Josiah Lawson to her office for review.

“We have received all the reports,” Fleming wrote in an email to the Journal, adding that an initial review revealed that there are outstanding “documents and recordings” that APD still needs to turn over.

Lawson, a 19-year-old sophomore at Humboldt State University, was stabbed several times — including once to the heart — at an off-campus party on April 15, 2017, and died a short time later at Mad River Community Hospital. A suspect, Kyle Zoellner, of McKinleyville, was arrested at the scene and charged with Lawson’s murder, but the charge was soon dismissed by a Humboldt County Superior Court judge who ruled there was insufficient evidence to hold Zoellner to stand trial on the charge.

Last week, Interim APD Chief Richard Ehle told the Journal his department was wrapping up its investigation — which was bolstered in recent months by additional resources and outside detectives — and he believed investigators had found “unequivocal physical evidence” linking a specific suspect to Lawson’s death, though he declined to name the suspect or describe the evidence. Further, Ehle said the investigation was almost entirely focused on Lawson’s homicide and not whether any other crimes were committed that night.

Fleming wrote in her email this morning that the case file includes “many reports and recordings that must be reviewed” to determine how her office will proceed with the case and that she anticipates “several weeks will be needed to review all the information.”

After reviewing all the information, Fleming’s office could decide to file a criminal complaint charging someone with a crime stemming from Lawson’s death, decline to pursue the case, request further investigation by APD or the DA’s internal Criminal Investigations Bureau.
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Thadeus Greenson

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Thadeus Greenson is the news editor of the North Coast Journal.

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