Saturday, October 25, 2014

Five-year-old son testifies against dad in strangulation death of boy's mother; dad convicted of 1st-degree murder and child abandonment (Saginaw County, Michigan)

Scumbag daddy MICHAEL LAWRENCE also killed an unrelated 6-year-old girl in a drive-by shooting before strangling to death the mother of his son. He then abandoned the boy, who was later found  wandering the streets. Daddy could have "manned up" and confessed, but no, he forced a 5-year-old boy to testify at trial.

Testimony of son, 5, convicts father Michael Lawrence of strangling to death child's mother
•Michael Lawrence was one of four suspects accused of killing Lay'la Jones
•Lawrence has now been found guilty of killing his ex-girlfriend, Angelica Olivarez, 23
•Authorities say they found his son in the street and her body in her home
•The now five-year-old child said that his 'father had shot his mother'

By James Gordon
Published: 00:26 EST, 25 October 2014 | Updated: 11:12 EST, 25 October 2014

A man accused of killing the mother of his five-year-old son while on the run from the fatal drive-by shooting of a six-year-old girl has been found guilty of first degree murder.

Michael Lawrence, from Michigan, was one of four suspects accused of killing six-year-old Lay'la Jones, in Saginaw, in August 2012.

Lawrence killed ex girlfriend, 23-year-old Angelica Olivarez, while on the run from the earlier offense.

Lawrence's own son, five-year-old son Michael, was a key witness in the trial against his father.

After he was charged for Lay'la Jones' murder, Lawrence went on the run from police.

A multistate manhunt was launched after his ex-girlfriend, and mother of his child, was found dead in the city's west-side in April 2013.

Her body was discovered by officers on April 15 in her home after her son three-year-old Michael Lawrence III was found in the streets outside.

Authorities say the boy said that his father had shot his mother.

After a two-week trial, a jury on Friday convicted Lawrence of first-degree murder for the strangulation of Angelica Olivarez.

The Saginaw County Prosecutor's Office went through with the yearlong process of gaining a second murder conviction against Lawrence for multiple reasons, and chief among those was closure for Olivarez's family, officials said.

'It's very gratifying to get the result that we were looking for,' said county Prosecutor John McColgan Jr. 'Our thoughts and prayers go out to Angelica's loved ones.'

Lawrence was on the run from the Jones case, and then also the Olivarez case, for almost exactly a year before police arrested him in Las Vegas in August 2013.

'We were hoping he would plead to save the family from going through this,' McColgan said. 'But he didn't, so we did what we had to do.'

Olivarez's mother, Theresa Medel, said she was 'glad it's over' and that 'it came out the way I wanted it to come out.'

'I'm glad he's going where he belongs,' she said.

The jurors believed that Michael Olivarez, the now-5-year-old son of Lawrence and Olivarez, heard his parents fighting on the day his mother died.

The little boy has told relatives multiple times each that his father killed his mother.

Lawrence was charged with alternative counts of the felony murder charge and of first-degree premeditated murder; both carry mandatory sentences of life without prison, but the jury had to choose one.

The jury also convicted Lawrence of felony charges of child abandonment and unlawful driving away of an automobile.

His young son's testimony was not the only thing that sealed his father's fate.

Lawrence's DNA matched that of one of the donors of samples taken from underneath Olivarez's fingernails.