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Man found guilty of attempted first degree murder of Gadsden County Sheriff’s deputy, other offenses

Verdict delivered Wednesday
Posted at 4:57 PM, Aug 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-24 17:13:55-04

(WTXL) — A man was found guilty Wednesday of attempted first degree murder of a law enforcement official in Gadsden County and other offenses.

According to the Office of the State Attorney Second Judicial Circuity of Florida, Dexter Lawson, age 39, was found guilty by a jury of two counts of attempted first degree murder of a law enforcement official, grand theft of a motor vehicle, tampering with physical evidence and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Lawson was accused of stealing a plumbing truck parked outside a fast-food restaurant in Leon County on Nov. 16, 2021. While the two employees were in the restaurant using the restroom, Lawson took the work truck wearing a mask, sunglasses and gloves.

The report notes that the work truck had G.P.S. monitoring and video surveillance devices attached.

The employees informed law enforcement of the theft of the vehicle and the direction of travel of the truck.

A Gadsden County Sheriff’s deputy, Chicara Hearns received notification about the truck and found the vehicle off Jamieson Road in Gadsden County.

According to the report, when the deputy attempted to stop the truck, Lawson drove the truck head-on into the deputy’s vehicle.

Lawson then accelerated the truck and pushed deputy’s vehicle more than 100 feet down the road until the truck rolled over the hood of the deputy’s vehicle.

The deputy observed Lawson attempt to leave the scene, but then returned and fired multiple shots at the deputy’s vehicle. The deputy was struck by gunfire three times. The deputy’s ballistic vest stopped two bullets, but a bullet pierced the deputy’s protective gear, which led to the deputy to sustain internal injuries.

The deputy was able to escape the vehicle and was met by citizens who attempted to provide aid. The deputy urged the citizens to return to their homes because of the ongoing threat of the situation.

Gadsden County Sheriff's deputy, Emmanuel DeLeon, was able to render aid and rescue deputy Hearns.

Multiple law enforcement officials responded to the scene and discovered Lawson hiding in a wooded area with a handgun. Lawson was accused of removing the clothing he was initially wearing.

Before the incident with the deputy, Lawson had been released from state prison in April 2021.

Prior to the trial, Lawson had been evaluated for his mental well-being.

He was found to be competent for trial. Lawson then fired a public defender attorney assigned to him and represented himself during the three-day trial.

Because of the latest incident involving a law enforcement official, Lawson will be required to be sentenced to life in state prison.

A sentencing date is to be determined.