By Paige Nash
A tip received by the FBI – New Orleans division has led to the arrest of Greg Lawson, 63, of Ringgold, after three decades on the run.
Deputies with the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office traveled to Houston, Texas Wednesday afternoon, September 20, to pick Lawson up and book him into the Claiborne Parish Detention Center. According to Bienville Parish Sheriff John Ballance, FBI agents arrested Lawson in Mexico.
The Shreveport Times reported in April of 1990 that Lawson, then age 30, was in an altercation with Seth Garlington, then age 21, also of Ringgold, when a “shoot-out” occurred outside of Clayborn’s Grocery Store along Highway 154 in Ringgold on April 24. Garlington suffered four gunshot wounds, including one to the hand and two other superficial wounds. He was transported to Schumpert Medical Center’s intensive-care unit and later released.
Lawson was booked on a charge of attempted second-degree murder, but was soon released on a bond of $50,000.
The following month, May 1990, the Shreveport Times reported that Lawson was indicted on 12 charges by a Bienville Parish Grand Jury, including aggravated assault, aggravated criminal damage, attempted second-degree murder, criminal damage to motor vehicles, attempted manslaughter, battery with a dangerous weapon, illegal use of a firearm and disturbing the peace. Lawson pleaded innocent and was released on a bond of $175,000.
The trial was moved to Claiborne District Court in Homer due to pretrial publicity in Bienville Parish.
It only took the 12-person jury half an hour to find Greg Max Lawson guilty, but Lawson was nowhere to be found. According to reports, while the jury was deliberating, Lawson who was free on bond simply walked out of the courtroom. Bienville Parish authorities began seeking to re-arrest Lawson on the 12 charges. Bienville Parish Sheriff at the time, Joe Storey, told the Times, “Once we knew he was indicted, we couldn’t find him anywhere.”
Judge Robert Y. Butler issued a bench warrant for his arrest. Lawson was facing up to 50 years in prison.
Lawson became a fugitive. In 2007, the FBI offered a $10,000 reward for any new information that may lead to his arrest. Over the span of three decades, there have been numerous reported sightings of Lawson with some tips putting him in foreign countries.
Lawson’s mother, Naomi Lawson, passed away in 2012. In her obituary, it stated that Lawson was residing in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
This arrest can largely be attributed to the coordinating work by the FBI’s New Orleans and Shreveport divisions, Mexican immigration and Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office.
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