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Notice of the state seeking the death penalty in baby Elena case handed down in Bell County Court

From WRIL The Big One -

Erica Lawson

Outside the on-going investigation into the tragic death of 17-month-old Middlesboro baby Elena back in July of this year are the court appearances of her mother Erica Lawson.


Lawson was initially arrested in early August 2023 and charged with Manslaughter – 2nd degree, Failure to report child abuse – 1st degree, Criminal abuse – 1st degree - child under 12, and Wanton endangerment. She was then indicted by a Bell County Grand Jury on August 22nd amending the Manslaughter charge to Murder - 1st degree.


Lawson was arraigned in Bell County Circuit court today (Tuesday, September 5, 2023) and the Notice of Aggravating Circumstance was filed in her case. Bell County Commonwealth Attorney Lisa Fugate states that this notice informed Erica Lawson that the Commonwealth: "now seeks to impose the death penalty for what she did to Baby Elena."


She is being held on a $1.000,000 cash bond in the Leslie County Detention Center.


DNA results have not yet returned from the lab from several submissions of others that may be involved in the case. No additional arrests have been made yet. Even with expediting the testing procedure, the lab is still behind.



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