News From Terre Haute, Indiana

June 12, 2014

High court upholds life sentence for 2011 murder

Staff Report
The Tribune-Star

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Supreme Court has upheld the sentencing of a Bloomington man convicted of the August 2011 murder of a Greene County woman.

Randy Knapp, 52, was convicted in October 2012 of killing Stacey J. Lawson, 28, of Solsberry, by bashing her in the head with a rock at the Newark Cemetery in Greene County.

The jury recommended a sentence of life in prison without parole because of the aggravating factor that Knapp was already on probation for two prior class-D felony convictions related to methamphetamine.

Oral arguments in the case were heard in March in a direct appeal before Supreme Court Justices Robert D. Rucker, Steven H. David, Mark S. Massa, Loretta H. Rush and Chief Justice Brent E. Dickson.

On Thursday, the Indiana Supreme Court affirmed the murder conviction and the sentencing of Knapp, who was arrested less than a week after Lawson’s body was found in a wooded area near the cemetery.

The Greene County prosecutor alleged that Knapp lured Lawson to the cemetery with the promise of giving her money. He was reportedly upset about the suicide of a young man who had been Lawson’s ex-boyfriend.

Knapp reportedly considered the young man like a stepson, because at one time Knapp had been the boyfriend of the young man’s late mother, police said.

The Greene County jury convicted Knapp of murder, which carried a sentence of 45 to 65 years in prison. The jury also found the aggravating factor of being on probation when the murder occurred, allowing for the sentencing enhancement to life in prison without parole.