For Immediate Release
La Crosse Man Sentenced to 9 Years for Armed Robbery & Gun Crime
MADISON, WIS. – Timothy M. O’Shea, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Kenneth J. Lawson, 32, La Crosse, Wisconsin, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge William M. Conley to 9 years in federal prison for armed robbery and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. This prison term will be followed by 3 years of supervised release. Lawson pled guilty to these charges on May 17, 2021.
On June 21, 2020, Lawson and a female associate robbed the occupants of a La Crosse apartment. Lawson carried a loaded 9mm handgun. When the female resident opened the door, Lawson grabbed her by the throat, hit her in the face, and pushed her to the ground. Lawson then attacked the male occupant, punching him multiple times in the face. During this altercation, Lawson’s gun fell from his waistband to the floor. Lawson and the male victim struggled over the gun. Eventually, the male victim returned the gun to Lawson after ensuring that it was unloaded.
Once Lawson regained possession of the gun, he and the female associate fled the apartment. Lawson accidentally left his cellphone and the loaded gun magazine in the apartment. When officers arrived, they found both victims had suffered injuries from the attack and many items inside the apartment were damaged.
La Crosse Police Department officers and the victims identified Lawson after searching the cell phone he’d dropped during the attack and finding his pictures on his Instagram account. The handgun used in the robbery was located by La Crosse police officers a few days later in the apartment where Lawson lived.
At the time of the robbery, Lawson was on Minnesota state supervision. He had multiple prior felony convictions and was prohibited from possessing a firearm.
In sentencing Lawson for the armed robbery and gun possession, Judge Conley noted the severity of the offense – a planned robbery to which Lawson brought a loaded gun and where the victims were brutally attacked, suffering trauma and injuries. Judge Conley noted that the La Crosse robbery was part of Lawson’s long history of violence.
The charges against Lawson were the result of an investigation conducted by the La Crosse Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The La Crosse County District Attorney’s Office also provided assistance in this case. The prosecution of the case was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Anderson.