Courtroom testimony heard in Michael Lawrence murder trial - WNEM TV 5


Courtroom testimony heard in Michael Lawrence murder trial

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Michael Lawrence Michael Lawrence
Lawrence in court on Tuesday Lawrence in court on Tuesday
Angelica Olivarez and son Angelica Olivarez and son
Six-year-old Layla Jones Six-year-old Layla Jones

The man accused in two separate slayings in Mid-Michigan was in court for a preliminary exam Tuesday.

Michael Lawrence had been a wanted man in connection to the slaying of 6-year-old Layla Jones and the homicide of his girlfriend, Angelica Olivarez. Layla was killed during a shooting just more than a year ago in Saginaw. Then in mid-April, police were called to a home in Saginaw after Olivarez's then 3-year-old son, Mike Jr., whom she fathered with Lawrence, was found wandering the streets by a neighbor after his mother was killed, and is believed to have been left alone for hours following her death.

During testimony, the judge dismissed everyone from the courtroom except a few key people due to concerns that the packed courtroom and cameras could intimidate the testimony of four-year-old Mike Jr.

Following Mike Jr.'s testimony, the first and second officers on the scene took the stand. One of them stated that Olivarez was unresponsive and had bruises around her neck with officers arrived. Officers said Olivarez's body was found in one of the bedrooms and it appeared rigor mortis had set in.

Later, the man who first found Mike Jr. wandering the streets testified that the boy told him his dad killed his mom.

Saginaw police say Lawrence was captured in Las Vegas by the Michigan State Police fugitive team and FBI. Lawrence first said he was hiring his own attorney, but apparently changed his mind and will have a court-appointed lawyer.

Lawrence is facing homicide charges, conspiring to commit that crime, five counts of assault with intent to murder, discharging a firearm from a vehicle, carrying a dangerous weapon with unlawful intent, carrying a concealed weapon and possessing a firearm as a felon, and nine counts of possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony-second offense.

In July, another man, JeVonne Greer, was convicted on 18 felony counts, including murder, in the shooting death of Layla. He will spend the rest of his life behind bars. Greer expressed condolences to Jones' family. But he says he will be appeal the jury's guilty verdict. Prosecutors say Greer, Lawrence and two others carried out the drive-by shooting to get revenge for another person's death.

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