Man tied to gun that killed 2 police officers facing 5 years


Associated Press

COLUMBUS

Family members of two Ohio police officers killed responding to a domestic-violence call this year are asking for the toughest sentence for the man who provided the gun used in the shooting, saying he helped rob them of futures with their loved ones.

By contrast, friends and family members of defendant Gerald Lawson are asking for leniency, saying Lawson is remorseful and prison time would harm his own young family.

Lawson, 31, is scheduled for sentencing next Thursday before Columbus federal judge Edmund Sargus. Prosecutors want a five-year prison term, saying Lawson knew that Quentin Smith, his lifelong friend, had a violent past that prohibited him from buying or owning a gun.

Defense attorneys want six months of house arrest, followed by three years of probation.

Westerville officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering were shot Feb. 11 responding to a 911 hang-up call at a town house in the Columbus suburb where Smith lived.

A criminal complaint says Smith gave Lawson the money to buy the gun – a Glock semi-automatic – along with $100 for completing the transaction. Smith wasn’t allowed to have weapons because of a previous burglary conviction.

The government says Lawson lied on a federal purchasing form when he said he wasn’t buying the gun for someone else.

Smith was indicted in March on charges that carry the possibility of a death sentence. He has pleaded not guilty.

Lawson pleaded guilty in May to aiding and abetting a prohibited person in possession of a firearm.

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