Lawson pleads guilty in the second degree

By Tilly Dillehay, Editor

March 25, 2014

Joseph Lawson, who was charged with first degree murder in Macon County for the shooting death of Donald Anderson, formally accepted a plea deal on Monday, March 24. He pled guilty to second degree murder and was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison, which will be served at 100%.

Deputy Clerk Jennene Shrum said that he could have been sentenced to life in prison, had he been convicted of first degree murder.

Lawson, age 23, will serve his time at the TN Department of Corrections; the particular facility has not been announced. He was represented by Public Defender Tom Bilbrey, and Asst. District Attorney Justin Harris was prosecutor.

Lawson was originally arrested on April 15, the day after 42-year-old Donald Anderson was shot. Lawson was accused of luring Anderson to his parents home at 569 Haydenburn Ridge Road, laying in wait, armed with a rifle, and shooting. Anderson claimed in court that he had not intended to kill Anderson, but that he only wanted to scare him. Lawson fled from the scene but was later located.

Anderson told first responders that Lawson had shot him out of jealousy.

In other court news, Danielle Jackson's trial was postponed this week and is now set for September 23. Her defense cited the need to find a reconstruction expert and more discovery as reasons for the continuation request. Jackson is also represented by Public Defender Bilbrey.

Danielle Jackson will be facing one charge of vehicular homicide. She was charged in February 2013 for the October 9, 2012 death of Matthew “Brett” Minchey. Minchey, driving a Harley motorcycle, was struck by a car driven by Jackson at the intersection Hwy 52 and College Street in Lafayette. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

Jackson told authorities at the time that she had been the victim of a hit and run in a nearby parking lot and was chasing the car down Hwy 52 at the time of the incident. Prosecutors claim that she ran the stop sign, resulting in Minchey's death.