KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Commonwealth of Kentucky now plans to seek the death penalty against the woman charged in the death of a 17-month-old.
Erica Lawson was arraigned Tuesday morning in Bell County Circuit Court. During the hearing, a Notice of Aggravating Circumstance was filed in her case, according to Bell County Commonwealth Attorney Lisa Fugate. This informs Lawson that the Commonwealth now seeks to impose the death penalty.
The investigation into Lawson began in July after her child was taken to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital on July 28. The hospital staff attempted to save the toddler by putting her on life support; however, the child died on July 30 due to the severity of her injuries. According to Fugate, the child had signs of physical and sexual abuse.
Lawson is facing murder, failure to report child dependency, neglect, or abuse, and first-degree wanton endangerment charges. She was arrested in connection with the child’s death on July 30. Her case was bound over to a grand jury on Aug. 8.
The Department of Child Services is assisting the Middlesboro Police Department in the investigation. MPD is also gathering DNA evidence to assist officers in “bringing the culprits to justice.”