Convicted Murderer's Family Says Man Is Not Guilty

By John W. Davis

April 10, 2011 Updated Apr 10, 2011 at 6:11 PM EST

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - No DNA or fingerprint evidence. No eyewitnesses.

However, a Fort Wayne man was convicted of murder in March, as prosecutors used circumstantial evidence to link him to the crime.

36-year-old Charles Lawrence is facing up to 95 years behind bars.

Lawrence will be sentenced Monday morning.

The man's family reached out to Indiana's NewsCenter and asked to share their side of the story.

On March 3, 2011, Charles Lawrence was convicted of murder and being a habitual offender.

Lawrence was previously convicted of armed robbery and attempted murder.

After Lawrence received his guilty verdict, Indiana's NewsCenter asked if he had anything to say.

"Yeah, I'm innocent. I'll be back. All that evidence and you still convicted me? No witnesses? No fingerprints? Still guilty?," said Charles Lawrence as he was being escorted out of the Allen County Courthouse.

Meanwhile, the woman at the center of this case is Charles Lawrence's sister, Tekella Lawrence.

On April 23, 2010, she was hit in the mouth with a bottle by her then boyfriend, Quinton Lewis.

She called police and then her family, including her brother Charles Lawrence, who was recently paroled from prison.

Her family came over to her apartment to check on her.

Tekella Lawrence said her family stayed with her for about 25 minutes and then left.

Her boyfriend was not there at the time but hours later Quinton Lewis was found dead.

He had been shot in the face and the top of the head, in her apartment hallway, at the Indian Village Garden Apartments on Kekionga Drive, on Fort Wayne's southwest side.

"I have no idea who killed Quinton. I just know my brother didn't do it and while they got my brother locked up, the real killer is still out here sitting back, chillin' and my brother is facing all this time for something he did not do," said Tekella Lawrence.

However, prosecutors told Indiana's NewsCenter that Lawrence was murderer.

Prosecutors based much of the court case on the fact that three of Lawrence's family members had different alibis, which included an initial statement by Tekella Lawrence to police that Charles was going to spend the night, so she would feel safe.

"I loved Quinton no matter what he did do. I did love him. So I lost somebody I loved, and I lost my brother to something that he did not do," explained Tekella Lawrence.

Charles Lawrence's newly-wed wife, Sanya Perry Lawrence, said her husband was on the right track despite his troubled past.

"Two-time convicted felon and he got out here and got a job," said Sanya Perry Lawrence.

"He was out here taking care of his family. Got us a house. He was doing everything right and then they come up here with these bogus charges against him and it's just not fair," continued Sanya Perry Lawrence.

Indiana's NewsCenter learned from family members that Charles Lawrence had two jobs.

One as a licensed barber, the other as a licensed welder, which he learned as a skilled trade from Ivy Tech Community College.

Lawrence's family members said he also was featured in a local newspaper for completing his felon reentry program.

"Did I know that he did the first crime? Did I feel like he did it? Yeah. But I don't feel like he did this crime," said Charles Lawrence's Mother, Erma Lawrence-Waters.

Charles Lawrence's Stepfather is also speaking out.

"I feel like the court, convicted him on hear says," said Luke Waters.

"This guy had other girlfriends... what about that?" questioned Waters.

Quinton Lewis' girlfriend said she vaguely knew about the other women.

"He had other females that he was messing with. I wasn't the only female he was messing around with. I don't know, what could have happened," said Tekella Lawrence.

Charles Lawrence served about 14 years for attempted murder.

Lawrence's 14-year-old daughter, barely knows her father.

"It's been kinda hard. I can't really explain it. Cause' you know I don't really know him like that. I just know him a little bit since he been out," said Judasha Sheets.

Meanwhile, it took a 12-person jury nearly eight hours to reach a verdict on the night of March 2, 2011.

The guilty verdict was read aloud in the wee hours of March 3, 2011.

Lawrence will be sentenced Monday morning.

"I'm not gonna sit here and be quiet about it. I'm (going to) stay involved, just like I am. I can't wait until my brother come home and we're still gonna fight until he come home."

Lawrence's wife, said her husband will appeal his murder conviction.




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