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Man found guilty of killing baby son, 2 others; he's spared death penalty

On Thursday, the jury recommended Eric Lawson be sentenced to life in prison, and St. Louis Circuit Judge Michael Noble accepted the jury's recommendation
Credit: KSDK

ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis man found guilty of killing his 10-month-old son, his ex-girlfriend and her mother will not face the death penalty after the jury recommended he be sentenced to life in prison.

Eric Lawson, 32, was convicted over the weekend of fatally shooting 22-year-old Breiana Ray and 50-year-old Gwendolyn Ray before setting an apartment fire that killed his 10-month-old son, Aiden, in 2012.

Aiden's 3-year-old daughter was rescued from the fire but suffered smoke inhalation.

On May 1, jurors found Lawson guilty. On Thursday, the jury recommended he be sentenced to life in prison, and St. Louis Circuit Judge Michael Noble accepted the jury's recommendation.

According to the Associated Press, the case was tried by the Missouri Attorney General's Office because Robert Steele, a former prosecutor with the Circuit Attorney’s Office, had counseled Lawson while Steele was a public defender. 

“Because of the efforts of my Office and our talented prosecutors, Eric Lawson will spend the rest of his life in prison for the gruesome, callous murders of his ex-girlfriend, her mother, and his 10-month-old son,"  Attorney General Eric Schmitt said in a press release. "I’m proud of the work that the Attorney General’s Office does to prosecute violent crime, both in this case and in complex homicide cases across the state.”

Attorneys for Lawson sought a continuance in January and again in March, citing concerns about COVID-19. Noble denied both requests.

Lawson's attorneys asked Noble for a continuance a third time in April, this time citing the two positive cases among potential jurors. When Noble again refused to pause the case, defense attorneys asked the Missouri Supreme Court to intervene.

RELATED: St. Louis death penalty trial continues despite positive COVID-19 tests among potential jurors

The trial ultimately continued and ended with sentencing Thursday.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.