Larry Eugene Lawton was sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole and was not in the courtroom to hear his fate that was handed down to him.
Lawton, 39, was found guilty of all four charges inside the Logan County Courthouse on Tuesday afternoon. With the four new convictions, Lawton now has 22 felony convictions that date back to the early 1990’s for similar charges.
A 12-person jury made up of nine females and three males needed just 43 minutes to make their verdict, but needed 88 minutes to decide their punishment in front of District Judge Phillip Corely.
Lawton, who previously served prison time, was found guilty of trafficking illegal drugs, unlawful possession of a controlled drug with intent to distribute, acquire proceeds from drug activity and possession of a controlled dangerous substance without tax stamp.
Jurors found the maximum penalty of life in prison without parole and a $25,000 fine for the trafficking charge, a 50 year prison term for possession with intent to distribute, five years for the charge of acquiring proceeds and fined $10,000 for having dangerous substance without a tax stamp.
However, before closing remarks could be concluded on the sentencing portion of the trial, Lawton became irate toward his attorney by throwing an ink pen down and appearing to shove his attorney’s hands away as they sat at the defense table during the state’s closing remarks.
Lawton was over heard saying, “why you going to do me that way” at the time of making the move toward his attorney.
Judge Corely quickly ask the courtroom deputies to place Lawton in handcuffs and remove him after not obeying his commands to quiet down. Lawton allowed deputies to handcuff him, but became more irate when being led out.
Guthrie Police Lieutenant Mark Bruning, who was the lead detective in the case and sitting at the State’s table, quickly assisted the deputies as Lawton became combative inside the hallway between the courtroom and sheriff’s office.
Jurors witness the entire encounter and could hear the commotion in the hallway as the State started back with their closing remarks.
Lawton was not allowed back into the courtroom to hear his sentence.
The minimum penalty that Lawton faced, in count one, was 10 years in prison due to his prior convictions.
The formal sentence trial is set for August 17 at 9 a.m.
Guthrie Police conduct investigation; results in big bust
The Guthrie Police Department conducted an ongoing investigation dealing with illegal drug activity at the Interstate Motel located near I-35 on East Oklahoma street.
A former Guthrie police officer, who was working at a tire store, spotted foot traffic coming from the hotel room and informed detectives on September 27, 2011. Detectives quickly made an arrest on Douglas McLaurin several blocks away from the motel for possession of crack cocaine. He later pleaded guilty to the crack cocaine charge.
Guthrie police quickly learned Lawton had an outstanding warrant and placed him under arrest. During the arrest, officials spotted marijuana in an ash tray inside his motel room and immediately sought a search warrant.
Police searched the room and found 39.7 grams of crack cocaine, five baggies of marijuana measuring out a total of 15.1 grams, a set of scales and $2,150 in cash.
The amount of crack cocaine found was seven times the amount over the limit to be charged with trafficking.