Death penalty possible in murder case

BARNETT, DAVIS, JONES, LAWRENCE

Four Elizabethtown men recently arrested on robbery and murder charges could face the death penalty, according to Hardin County’s Commonwealth’s Attorney.

Tyler Lee Lawrence, 20, Elijah Dashon Barnett, 22, and Donyale Antoine Jones, 27, were arrested Saturday, and Temorris Mandrette Davis Jr., 21, was arrested Tuesday by Radcliff police. All four are charged with murder in the May 22 shooting death of Lashard Harrison, 25, of Vine Grove, behind a Radcliff apartment complex.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Shane Young said Tuesday the charges are eligible for the death penalty. He said the men are expected to have their cases presented before a Hardin County grand jury, possibly as soon as Thursday.

According to arrest citations, the men went to Radcliff with the intention of robbing Harrison of money they paid him for drugs.

According to arrest citations, the men admitted to setting up a “drug deal for a quantity of pills” and during the transaction, the men exchanged cash with Harrison for a number of pills.

“As Harrison turned to leave, Barnett and Jones shot Harrison multiple times causing his death,” the citation said. With Harrison shot, the men then retrieved the cash and fled in Jones’ vehicle, according to the citation.

Lawrence, Barnett and Jones appeared Tuesday morning in Hardin District Court where they entered not guilty pleas. They will appear at 9 a.m. June 7 in Hardin District Court unless they are indicted by a grand jury. In that case, their appearances will be changed to Hardin Circuit Court and a time and day will be scheduled.

Morris is scheduled to appear this morning for arraignment in Hardin District Court.

Radcliff Police Chief Jeff Cross said no further arrests are expected in the case.

All of the men are being held in lieu of $500,000 cash bonds in the Hardin County Detention Center.

Harrison, a 2012 graduate of North Hardin High School, was found dead in a parking lot behind apartments at 1508 Pin Oak Court in Radcliff and pronounced dead at the scene by the Hardin County Coroner’s Office.

All four men are charged with murder and first-degree robbery. Lawrence also is charged with tampering with physical evidence.

If found guilty of murder, the men face 20 to 50 years, or life, in prison, if convicted, or death, if a death penalty is sought in the case. First-degree robbery is a Class B felony punishable by 10 to 20 years in prison, if convicted, and tampering with physical evidence is a Class D felony punishable by one to five years in prison, if convicted.

The murder charge is death penalty eligible since there is an aggravating factor of robbery leading to the fatal shooting. Harrison was shot multiple times, according to the coroner’s office and witness accounts.

Should the Common­wealth seek the death penalty, it would be the second death penalty case this year. The death penalty is being sought against Shadrach Peeler of Elizabethtown, who is charged with killing two people Feb. 21 at two different Elizabethtown locations, and shooting two others.

Should a death penalty be sought against the men, it would be the second one in less than three years for homicides at Pin Oak Court apartments.

In September 2016, Norman Hall, 71, was killed inside his apartment. Aaron Pearson and Eloysia James-Ven­erable were charged. Pearson will stand trial next month, while James-Venerable has accepted a plea deal of 20 to 50 years or life in prison, with parole eligibility after 20 years, in exchange for truthful testimony at the trial.

Jeff D’Alessio can be reached at 270-505-1757 or jdalessio@thenewsenterprise.com.

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