Michelle Chermaine Lawson issues an emotional plea for anyone who may have information about her son's death to come forward.
The mother of slain Humboldt State University sophomore David Josiah Lawson stood on the campus quad yesterday afternoon and announced a $10,000 award for information leading to the arrest and conviction of her son’s killer and issued an impassioned plea for witnesses to come forward.
Flanked by family, Arcata Police Chief Tom Chapman and a couple of her son’s friends, Michelle Chermaine Lawson told the story of what she was doing when she received word her son had been fatally stabbed at an Arcata house party.
“On April 15, I received a phone call from my son’s cell phone at 3:36 in the morning,” she said. “I answered the phone by saying, ‘DJ, What’s wrong?’”
Michelle-Charmaine Lawson described her son’s frantic roommate saying her son was at the hospital, a nurse explaining he was in surgery and, finally, a doctor telling her they’d done all the could but her son was dead.
“This is a mother’s worst nightmare,” she said. “No mother should receive the phone call I received … We are broken. I am confused. I don’t understand. My brain just won’t allow me to understand.”
She announced the creation of a $10,000 award for anyone who comes forward with information that leads to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for her son’s death. She urged parents of students who may have been at the party that night to talk to their children about what they say, and anyone who was personally there to come forward.
“As a mother, I’m pleading with you to come forward — I’m pleading with you for justice for my son,” she said. “Please, do the right thing. Come forward.”
David Josiah Lawson’s friend Elijah Chandler also spoke briefly, saying people should not fear retribution or backlash for coming forward, that this is bigger than “guilt or shame,” and urging anyone with the ability to ease Michelle-Chermaine Lawson’s pain to do so.
“We need to make sure whoever did this is held accountable because people are hurting right now and they will continue to hurt until they know what happened that night,” he said.
Chapman urged witnesses to call the Arcata Police Department at 822-2428 or the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office at 445-7411. Additionally, the Lawson family lawyer, Justin Sanders, can be reached at (213) 426-5000, extension 1000.