Jury Deliberating in Ex-Cop's Manslaughter Trial

Lawlor hears closing arguments in manslaughter case

The contrast between Robert Lawlor and the main witnesses against him was striking, considering he was a Marine, a veteran police officer, with no criminal record, and they were convicted felons with dark pasts and poor prospects.

It's the kind of contrast Lawlor's defense attorney delighted in illuminating for the jury during closing arguments Friday morning.

"I've learned over the last thirty years that you can never read a jury," said Michael Georgetti, Lawlor's lawyer. "In a case such as this not only is reasonable doubt an issue but the state must disprove beyond a reasonable doubt that the police officer was justified."

Lawlor told investigators he killed Jashon Bryant in May 2007 because he saw Bryant with a gun and when Bryant's driver tried to escape, he feared Bryant would use the gun against him and his partner. 

But no gun was recovered, despite a search.

"If that gun had been found," Michael Dearington, the prosecutor, told the jury, "and if there was reason to think Jashon Bryant had that gun in the car, I don't think we'd be here today."

But Dearington argued there was no gun because Lawlor hadn't warned his partner about a gun and Lawlor wasn't in a position to have seen a gun.

"How can you see a gun," Dearington asked the jury, "if someone's back is to you, if there's a car between you and him and you're 115 feet away and you're looking over the shoulder of a junkie?  How could he see that?"

Brandon Henry, who left jail to testify for the prosecution, testified last month Bryant had no gun and the reason he was trying to escape from Lawlor was to protect the crack he was hoping to sell.

Lawlor would presumably face jail time if the jury decides he's guilty but the sentence would be up to Judge Julia Dewey.

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