, Corbin, KY

March 14, 2014

Plea deal reached with man facing facilitation to commit murder charge

By John L. Ross, Corbin, KY

BARBOURVILLE — By John L. Ross / Staff Writer

A trial has been averted and a plea agreement reached in the case against a Williamsburg man charged with facilitation to commit murder.

Vincent Monroe Lawson, 60, appeared in Whitley County Circuit Court before Judge Dan Ballou Thursday morning to enter into a plea agreement.

According to Commonwealth’s Attorney Allen Trimble, the plea agreement included an amendment to the charge against Lawson.

Lawson faced this facilitation charge in the attempted murder of Ashley Warren — Anthony Potter-Spicer, who lived with Lawson at the time of the February 2013 stabbing attack, was sentenced to 32 years in July for attempted murder and first-degree assault.

According to Trimble, Lawson pleaded guilty Thursday to the amended charge — unsworn falsification to authorities. According to Kentucky Revised Statute 523.100, a person is guilty of this charge when, intending on misleading authorities, he or she makes a false statement for the record, or submits or invites reliance on any written information known as forged, or submits other types of evidence known as false.

That crime is also listed by that statute as a misdemeanor offense, Trimble said.

He added that Lawson “was not in (good) physical condition” — in past court appearances he has appeared on a medical cane and sat during proceedings.

Per the plea agreement, Lawson was sentenced to 90 days conditional discharge.

“This reflects what Mr. Lawson did,” Trimble said. “He was somewhat fearful of (Potter-Spicer) — he was scared.”

According to Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird, Warren tried to end her relationship with Potter-Spicer for some time before she was stabbed.

“The night of the incident, he accused her of having an affair,” Bird said, adding the two were arguing by that point. “He pulled the knife, stating, ‘If he couldn’t have her, no one else would either.’”

Warren ran, but didn’t get far, according to Bird.

“He tackled her and began to stab her repeatedly,” Bird alleged. Warren was flown to the University of Kentucky Medical Center, where she was treated and eventually released.

The bulk of this attack happened in front of a neighbor, Betty Bundy, who contacted police. Williamsburg Police Detective Bobby Freeman testified at Potter-Spicer’s preliminary hearing last March that Warren received stab wounds to her chest, back, buttocks, throat and hands.

Potter-Spicer resided with Lawson at Lawson’s home on Skyview Drive, according to Freeman, who also testified the defendant was tracked from the scene of the attack toward the Cumberland River. However, Potter-Spicer was actually arrested in the basement of his residence — the house owned by Lawson.

The police department’s tracking dog located him under a bed and actually bit Potter-Spicer, according to Freeman’s testimony.

The knife used in the attack has never been recovered.

During closing arguments of Potter-Spicer’s trial, Trimble beat his hand 16 times on the podium, asking jurors “to think about” being stabbed that many times.

“She was pleading for her life,” Trimble said.

The jury was instructed to view the first 15 stab wounds as first-degree assault, and the final stab wound to Warren’s neck as attempted murder.

In less than an hour those jurors came back in the courtroom with a guilty verdict on both counts.