TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Local News

July 10, 2014

Trial for Young’s Grocery robbery postponed

CORBIN — By John L. Ross / Staff Writer

Wednesday’s trial set for a couple accused in the April 2013 robbery of Young’s Grocery on Hwy. 904 in southern Whitley County has again been postponed — but this time only until Monday.

Roy William Lawson Jr., 37, and Rebecca Gari Lawson, 38, of Maple Creek Road, appeared in Whitley County Circuit Court with their attorneys before Judge Dan Ballou.

Roy Lawson is represented by Attorney B.J. Foley; Rebecca Lawson’s attorney is Public Defender Ron Findell.

Several cases were listed for jury trials on the docket — attorneys for those respective cases were in process of preparing for either trials or plea agreements.

Meanwhile, members of the jury pool were present — but once it was determined no actual jury trials were to take place Wednesday, those in the jury pool were excused.

That’s when cases began getting called forward — and the Lawsons were the first two people called to the podium.

Once their names were called, Findell, Foley and Commonwealth’s Attorney Allen C. Trimble approached the bench, and went into a silent conference with Ballou.

Several minutes passed — the Lawsons, both out on bond, looked back toward their families with hopeful glances.

The silent conference ended — and the Lawsons left with those who came with them in support.

It was later learned the trial was moved to Monday.

The trial has been postponed more than once — the original trial date was July 30, 2013.

The Lawsons both face first-degree robbery charges in the April 9, 2013 robbery of the grocery store in southern Whitley County. Rebecca Lawson also faces first-degree criminal mischief charges related to the case.

Among the evidence is a surveillance video, taken outside the store the day of the robbery.

And it’s expected that video will likely surface during Monday’s trial.

During one of their court appearances in 2013, Foley told the court he had watched that video, which shows a man and a woman in some form of altercation with other people in the video.

During the Lawsons’ preliminary hearing more than a year ago, Whitley Sheriff’s Chief Deputy K.Y. Fuson testified that he, too, had watched that video, stating he learned from the lead investigator Deputy Brian Lawson the incident began “with what appears to be a shoplifting (incident).”

Foley challenged that assumption during that court proceeding last year.

“This is a melee that happened in a grocery store parking lot,” Foley said, describing what he saw in the video.

During that hearing, Fuson testified the store’s owner, Ruth Young, had barricaded Rebecca Lawson’s attempted re-entry into the store after allegedly witnessing her steal items from inside the store.

Instead of leaving the parking lot, Fuson said Rebecca Lawson returned to the store. “They’re arguing outside the store,” Fuson testified about the video, adding that’s when he saw Roy Lawson emerge from the vehicle. “Then he’s on top of Ruth,” he said.

It was explained there was no audio available with the surveillance video — only visual.

It was unknown what happened next, but Fuson said Young “takes her phone and hits” Roy Lawson in the face with it.

Foley said that Roy Lawson “received 15 stitches in his ear after the owner of the shop (Young) hit him (with a phone).”

Fuson also testified the next action seen in the video was Roy Lawson allegedly hitting “an 82-year-old woman (Young) with a right hook,” making contact with the left side of her face.

Foley said that he had seen the video and suggested the court view it.

Trimble said at that hearing that he felt showing the video was a good idea. “Show the video,” he said in court last year, adding the video and eyewitness testimony would be part of the state’s case. “That’s the case in a nutshell.”

Roy Lawson was released from the Whitley County Detention Center July 3, 2013 on two separate bonds — one was a $25,000 fully-secured bond with an ankle bracelet requirement, the other a $5,000 surety.

Rebecca Lawson was released from the detention center July 30, 2013 on a $25,000 fully-secured bond, also with an ankle bracelet requirement.

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