Orient Man Sentenced To Life In Slaying Of Grandfather

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UPDATED: Wednesday August 20, 2014 5:23 PM

Shaun Lawson admitted to killing his 84-year-old grandfather, and then read and yawned his way through his murder trial.

Lawson, 30, appeared bored and indifferent during his murder trial last week.

Wednesday, at the last possible moment, he tried to convince the court that he did care.

But the judge wasn't buying it.

In a videotaped interview with investigators, Lawson boasted about killing his grandfather.

"I said give me the guns, and he said 'no.' And I shot him. (inaudible) And I made the decision (inaudible) and I shot him again right in the mouth," Lawson told investigators.

Then, as jurors and horrified family members listened to the gruesome details of Thomas Whitson's murder, the man responsible casually flipped through a magazine.

Jurors wasted no time in finding him guilty on all counts.

Wednesday, Lawson left the reading material behind, but seemed just as uninterested, yawning as a victim advocate read the emotional statements of Whitson's loved ones.

"I will never be able to see my father again, hold his hand, cook him meals, listen to his old stories about how it used to be - neighbors helping neighbors, sharing things, or trading farmer to farmer," read a statement from Whitson’s daughter Sharon Clary.

“I can’t even imagine the fear my grandpa felt, with five grown men breaking into his home,” read a statement from his granddaughter Tammy Sweet.

Lawson told investigators he and his friends went to his grandfather's Orient home to steal his guns.

But he admitted that he intended to kill his grandfather and would have also killed his father if he'd been there.

Pictured: Thomas Whitson (Grandfather)

Wednesday, Lawson said he was mentally ill and needed help, not jail.

"People think I'm not remorseful, but I am,” he told the court. “I'm sorry for what happened, but it wasn't my fault. I'm mentally ill and I was under the control of my mental illness that night."

Judge Randal Knece was unmoved.

"Honestly, Mr. Lawson, I've never seen an individual with less remorse than what you've displayed here in this courtroom," said Knece.

He sentenced Lawson to life in prison, with no chance of parole.

“This is just cold-blooded murder. That's all there is to it. That man did not deserve to have a grandson like you," he said.

Four other people face charges related to the robbery and death of Thomas Whitson.

Kyle Robinson and two juveniles have pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder charges, and are awaiting trial.

Joshua Johnson is serving a seven year sentence for aggravated burglary and grand theft.

 

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