Woodlawn man gets life, 33 years in mall slaying Judge also reinstates rest of prior sentence

January 14, 1992|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,Baltimore County Bureau of The Sun

A Woodlawn man was sentenced to life in prison plus 33 years yesterday in the murder of Jane Frances Tyson, who was fatally shot in front of her two grandchildren on the parking lot at Westview Mall.

Before sentencing, Gregory Lawrence, 34, of Cheviot Court, repeated what he had said during his trial: "I took a person to a store, not knowing of his intention."

Wesley Baker, 33, is awaiting trial in Harford County, accused of being the person who actually shot and robbed Mrs. Tyson.

"There was no reason at all that I would go out and rob someone," Lawrence said, noting that he and his wife, a correctional officer, both were employed.

Judge James T. Smith Jr. attributed Mr. Lawrence's continued protestation of innocence to his horror when the planned robbery turned to murder.

Citing victim-impact statements, State's Attorney Sandra A. O'Connor told the judge that Mrs. Tyson's 6-year-old grandson no longer feels safe even in his home. During jury selection, she said some potential jurors from the Catonsville area were excused because they were so outraged by the crime.

A jury convicted Lawrence on Oct. 24, 1991, on murder, robbery and handgun charges for being the lookout and getaway driver in the fatal shooting and $10 robbery.

Lawrence and his passenger were deliberate in "going to a popular mall . . . and in cold blood killing somebody who is there to buy tennis shoes for her grandchildren," Ms. O'Connor said. "If it were not for Mr. Lawrence, the crime would not have happened."

Lawrence must serve a minimum of 43 years before consideration for parole, the prosecutors said.

He was on parole at the time of the shooting, released after serving seven years of a 20-year sentence for armed robbery of a 7-Eleven near the mall, Ms. O'Connor told the judge.

Judge Smith reinstated the remainder of that sentence, 13 years, and added a consecutive 20-year term for the handgun charge, plus a life sentence for Mrs. Tyson's murder.

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