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April 25, 2013

Sentence handed out in grandmother death case

One woman gets 20 years, another walks away free

CORBIN — By John L. Ross / Staff Writer

Two women facing murder charges appeared in Whitley County Circuit Court Wednesday — one woman received a sentence of 20 years, the other walked away a free woman.

Michelle Susan Loy, 40, and her mother, Patricia Lawson, appeared with their attorneys before Judge Jerry Winchester.

Loy is represented by Attorney Cotha Hudson. Attorney Jane Butcher represented Lawson.

Loy and Lawson were both accused in the January 2010 beating death of Lawson’s mother and Loy’s grandmother, 76-year-old Georgia Dotson. A state autopsy report showed Dotson was killed by blunt force trauma, and Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird said she had “numerous rib fractures, some old.” He added that Dotson was found with severe bruising to her head and face, which was covered by makeup.

Loy made a plea agreement March 25, which reduced her murder charge to second-degree manslaughter. Loy pleaded guilty to that charge, as well as one charge of first-degree criminal abuse.

In court Wednesday, Loy said nothing, and Hudson just asked the court to follow the recommendations. She added that the pretrial report, which was what delayed Loy’s sentencing April 8, was complete and did not require any changes.

Winchester followed the recommendations, and for the second-degree manslaughter charge, Loy was handed 10 years. A consecutive 10-year sentence was given to Loy for first-degree criminal abuse.

Hudson did request Loy receive credit for time served — Loy has been in jail for nearly three years. Winchester granted that request, then remanded her back into custody. When asked if she had anything to say, Loy said “No, and thank you Judge.”

While being led from the courtroom, she did manage to wave at family members who were present, and mouthed words of thanks to them.

One of those family members present was Lawson.

After Loy’s sentencing, Winchester called Lawson’s case forward.

Butcher and Commonwealth Attorney Allen Trimble approached the bench. Lawson, who was walking with the aid of a cane, stayed seated in the gallery.

“The Commonwealth moves to dismiss (all) charges against Ms. Lawson,” Trimble said.

Nothing more was said on the case, and Lawson’s charges were dismissed.

“My God is sovereign,” Lawson said after the dismissal. “I’ve been blessed with another miracle. I praise and honor His glory.”

She also expressed her gratitude toward Butcher, her attorney.

Roger Dotson, son of the murder victim, is Loy’s uncle. “She should have gotten a lot more (time),” he said. “But the law’s the law.

“But I would like to have seen her get life,” he added.

He described his mother as a “wonderful” person. “She loved church,” Dotson said. “We miss her a lot.”

Concerning his sister’s dismissal, he said the family “is satisfied with the outcome.”

“My sister is just like her Mom,” he said. “She’s a good-hearted person.”

Trimble said he had no problem dismissing the murder charge against Lawson. “The family felt she didn’t have anything to do with it,” Trimble said. “Her husband was dying from cancer at the time, and Ms. Lawson was occupied dealing with him.

“There was no active negligence on her part,” he added.

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