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Louisiana Fugitive Recaptured After 32 Years

After more than three decades on the lam, a Louisiana fugitive was back at Claiborne Parish Detention Center on September 19, 2023. As he was handed over to Bienville Parish Sheriff’s deputies at a Houston airport, video showed that Greg Lawson, 63, laughed.

It all started on April 24, 1990, when Lawson got into a barroom brawl with Seth Garlington over a woman. Or maybe it was about guns—both stories were floated over the years. Garlington tried to get away, but Lawson pursued him, and the two ended up at a Ringgold gas station. After throwing a few punches, Lawson pulled a firearm. Former friend Ryanie Evans said later that “[t]hey couldn’t settle things with their hands, so they brought out the guns.” She said Lawson “reveled in having some sort of controversy going all the time, he thrived on that.”

Garlington was shot, but he survived. Lawson was arrested and indicted by a Bienville Parish grand jury for attempted murder. Because of his family’s influence there, trial was moved to Claiborne Parish. In May 1991, while the jury was in deliberations—preparing to deliver a guilty verdict—Lawson snuck out a courthouse window. Investigators found his truck a block away. But he disappeared.

FBI agents followed numerous leads but none panned out. However, the agency later recalled, “From the beginning, the FBI suspected Lawson had fled to Mexico.”

In fact Lawson assumed the identity of a dead Alabaman and fled across the border. Over 32 years later, a tip to New Orleans FBI agents in 2023 led them to alert Mexican authorities, who located the fugitive in Huatulco. He was arrested for an immigration violation and returned to U.S. immigration authorities, who then made the handoff to Louisiana deputies. Without any apparent irony, FBI Special Agent Douglas A. Williams, Jr. thanked the agency’s “partners in Mexico” for being “willing to deal with this so swiftly.”  


Sources: AP News, CBS News, KTBS, New York Times, True Crime Daily

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