Road rage shooter sentenced
MINDEN- Donald Ray Lawson Jr. stood glassy-eyed in full restraints and a navy blue prison jump suit Tuesday as he was sentenced to 50 years in prison.
Lawson pleaded guilty to attempted murder and mayhem for the Feb. 6 shooting of Jimmy McGeehan. Lawson, 32, will not be eligible for parole until 2021.
Lawson shot McGeehan 11 times outside the victim’s Upper Kingsbury residence after McGeehan heard Lawson tampering with his vehicle and came outside to investigate. Ten days earlier, Lawson had followed McGeehan to his home after being passed in traffic on Kingsbury Grade.
McGeehan’s uncle asked for the maximum penalty during Tuesday’s hearing.
“We’ve tried to figure out the why or how,” Connell McGeehan said. “The planning, the stealth, the viciousness of the attack. It was like an assassination.”
“Why did he not befriend my brother?” asked Dennis McGeehan. “He would have had a friend for life. What you see here is a murderer. Do not punish my brother for living.”
During Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, the defense maintained that Lawson came to McGeehan’s residence only to slash his tires.
“He made me feel like a punk kid,” Lawson said. “I decided to do something to his truck. Some kind of vandalism to make him mad. I made a horrible decision and if I could turn back time I would have made a different decision.”
Douglas County District Court Judge David Gamble rebuked the defense’s plea for leniency, noting the brutality of the crime.
“It is very easy for me to conceive of less violent attempted murders, and it is very difficult for me to conceive a more violent attempted murder,” Gamble said. “What I am least impressed with in Mr. Lawson’s plea is that to serve jail time will do no one any good here. I am not here to do you any good.”
Lawson admitted his guilt to both charges May 8 in a plea agreement with the Douglas County District Attorney’s office. Prosecutor Dina Salvucci said she was pleased with Gamble’s decision to impose the maximum penalty.
“I plea bargained to exactly what I thought the case deserved,” Salvucci said. “He’ll be 52 years old when he is first asked to go for parole.”
McGeehan returned in April to his native Glenside, Pa., where he is expected to continue rehabilitation for at least a year. He is in a wheelchair and reportedly making progress.
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