By John L. Ross
Judge John Paul Chappell had no choice in Laurel County District Court Tuesday.
He had to “dismiss without prejudice” a case against a Keavy man accused of shooting his girlfriend in the ankle.
Richard J. Lawson, 36, now with a shaved head, appeared before Chappell with Attorney Kelly Ridings. Ridings stood in for his regular attorney, Mike Brophy.
Absent from the court proceedings Tuesday was the Laurel County Sheriff’s Department deputy in the case, as well as the complaining witness, shooting victim Gena Smith, 37.
It was unclear as to why Smith was not present Tuesday, however, Chappell said the deputy was “improperly subpoenaed” for the case.
Ridings explained that while the case was dismissed out of District Court, because Lawson faces felony charges his case could be presented to a grand jury.
Lawson faces a felony charge of first-degree assault through domestic violence and a charge of first-degree wanton endangerment.
According to Sheriff John Root, on Feb. 3, deputies Shawn Boroviak and Brett Reeves responded to a Locust Grove residence to investigate a report that a woman had been shot.
Deputies were told Lawson was “very intoxicated” and had been in an argument with Smith. As Smith tried to flee the home, Root said Lawson retrieved a .22 caliber rifle and fired several rounds toward Smith as she ran down the hallway.
One shot struck her ankle, but she was able to escape to a neighbor’s home to contact authorities.
Reeves and Boroviak reported discovering Smith at the neighbor’s home, bleeding from the gunshot wound. Root said the deputies also discovered Lawson — he was passed out in a back bedroom, still clutching the rifle allegedly used to shoot his girlfriend.
The couple’s 11-year-old son was in the residence at the time of the shooting.
Lawson remains jailed at the Laurel County Correctional Center under a $25,000 cash bond.