Man tied to gun that killed 2 Westerville police officers gets 5 years

Photo of Gerald Lawson provided by Franklin County Jail

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A man has been sentenced to five years in prison for providing the gun used in a shooting that killed two Westerville police officers earlier this year.

Prosecutors sought the 5-year prison term for defendant Gerald Lawson, saying Lawson knew that Quentin Smith, his lifelong friend, had a violent past that prohibited him from buying or owning a gun.

Federal judge Edmund Sargus handed down the sentence Thursday.

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

Westerville officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering were shot Feb. 10 responding to a 911 hang-up call at a townhome in the Columbus suburb where Smith lived.

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