By John L. Ross / Staff Writer
A husband and wife charged with first-degree robbery of Young’s Grocery on Hwy. 904 appeared before Judge Dan Ballou in Whitley County Circuit Court Monday.
And now their trials have been scheduled for July 30.
Roy William Lawson Jr., 36, and Rebecca Gari Lawson, 37, of Maple Creek Road, appeared with their attorneys. Roy Lawson is represented by Attorney B.J. Foley; Rebecca Lawson’s attorney is Public Defender Ron Findell.
The Lawsons face first-degree robbery charges in the April 9 robbery of the grocery store in southern Whitley County. Rebecca Lawson also faces first-degree criminal mischief charges related to the case.
Foley requested to speak Monday concerning Roy Lawson’s bond, adding he made a motion which had previously been denied in prior court appearances.
Among the evidence is a surveillance video, taken outside the store the day of the robbery.
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 in April, Whitley Sheriff’s Chief Deputy K.Y. Fuson testified that he 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 in Circuit Court Monday.
“This is a melee that happened in a grocery store parking lot,” Foley said, describing what he saw in the video.
During the preliminary, Fuson testified that 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.
He explained there was no audio available with the surveillance video — only visual.
It was unclear what happened next, but Fuson said Young “takes her phone and hits” Roy Lawson in the face with it.
During Monday’s court appearance, Foley said Roy Lawson “received 15 stitches in his ear after the owner of the shop (Young) hit him (with a phone).”
During the preliminary, Fuson 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 reiterated Monday that he had seen the video and suggested the court view it.
Commonwealth Attorney Allen Trimble felt that was a good idea. “Show the video,” he said, adding the video and eyewitness testimony would be part of the state’s case. “That’s the case in a nutshell.”
Findell also attempted to get his client, Rebecca Lawson, a reduction in her bond to $5,000 fully secured. Foley asked for Roy Lawson’s bond to be reduced to a $20,000 property bond.
In the end, Ballou ruled their bonds would both be set as $25,000 fully-secured bonds with an ankle bracelet condition.
Both defendants were remanded back into the custody of the Whitley County Detention Center. Roy Lawson is also under a $5,000 surety bond for a charge of first-degree promoting contraband.