Man found dead in Waterville was a fugitive from justice, police say

Posted Jan. 18, 2013, at 2:46 p.m.
Richard Lawson
Richard Lawson

WATERVILLE, Maine — A man police found dead on Kennedy Memorial Drive last week had been a fugitive for nearly a decade, Waterville police Chief Joseph Massey said Friday.

The man was identified as Richard Lawson, 58, a Pennsylvania native who had warrants for his arrest in West Virginia, Massey said.

Lawson was discovered dead at 295 Kennedy Memorial Drive on Jan. 11, Massey said. He said Lawson died of heart problems, according to an autopsy performed by the state medical examiner, and his death is not suspicious.

Toxicology tests are also pending, the chief said.

In 2004, Lawson had been on trial in West Virginia for possession of a firearm by a felon, manufacturing methamphetamine and using a firearm in the furtherance of a drug crime, Massey explained.

He had been on the run since the second day of his trial when he failed to show up to court, according to Massey, and the U.S. Marshals Service subsequently issued an arrest warrant for him.

Massey said Waterville police had never dealt with Lawson, who has ties to Maine. Lawson has relatives in Garland.

“We spoke to those folks, they have not seen him in as long as 10 years,” said Massey. “They had no idea he was coming to Maine.”

Since Lawson’s body was found near Waterville’s Greyhound bus station, it’s possible he used bus transportation recently to come to Maine, the chief said.

A carton of milk that had expired on Dec. 3 was also found near Lawson’s body, Massey said.

“We suspect that it was his,” the chief said.

Waterville police were able to confirm Lawson’s identity by sending his fingerprints to the FBI, Massey explained.

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