RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A former North Carolina State University student was found guilty of first-degree murder in the 1996 death of a Shaw University student.
It took the jury less than two hours to convict Edwin Christopher Lawing of killing Lacoy McQueen.
The prosecution argued Lawing killed McQueen because she was pregnant and he did not want to give up his freedom to become a father.
During sentencing, Lawing told the judge, “I did not do this, sir. That’s all I can say.”
But McQueen’s friends say justice was served in Wake County Superior Court.
“I expected him to say something like that, but he did it.” said Stephanie Jones, McQueen’s friend. “That’s why the evidence proved that he did it,”
Though it took years, Jones says the system worked to find her friend’s killer.
“Oh, it worked. Might have been slow – 19 years slow – but it worked.”
Barbara Carter, another friend of McQueen’s, says the case has haunted them for nearly 20 years.
“Not just that she was murdered, but having to live with knowing that we weren’t there for her the moment that she knew she was in trouble, the moment she knew there was no way out,” she said. “Because she was always there for us.”
McQueen, 20, was reported missing May 17, 1996. Police could not find any information on McQueen’s status for more than a year.
On March 3, 1997, construction workers found human remains off U.S. Highway 1 near Kittrell that were positively identified as McQueen’s by the state’s Chief Medical Examiner, police said.
Lawing was arrested and charged in McQueen’s death on March 19, 1997.
Raleigh police said the charges against Lawing were dismissed May 2, 1997.
In 2014, evidence was retested using more recent methods and Raleigh homicide detectives and the Wake County District Attorney’s Office decided to prosecute Lawing in the case.
During closing arguments Monday, the defense tried to convince the jury not to fall for “junk science.”
“The state has taken a weak case that didn’t have enough evidence for almost 20 years and thrown a geologist at it to try and confuse you,” said defense attorney Celia Visser.
But the prosecution argued Lawing set out to get rid of his pregnant girlfriend and “threw her away like an old toy.”
Patrick Latour, assistant district attorney said Lawing was a calculating man. “A man who did not want this baby and a man who had his mind made up that he was going to get rid of this baby no matter how much he had to do to get it done,” Latour said. “Chris Lawing thought about it, Chris Lawing planned it, Chris Lawing disposed of Lacoy McQueen after he had no more use for her.”
Jones says McCoy was looking forward to motherhood. “She was going to love that baby,” she said.
Lawing will get life in prison without parole. He says he will appeal.