DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of North Carolina

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Robert J. Higdon, Jr.
, United States Attorney
Contact: Don Connelly

Lumberton Man Sentenced for Being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm

RALEIGH – The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that today in federal court, Chief United States District Judge James C. Dever, III sentenced WILLIAM MARTIN LAWSON, 42, of Lumberton to 120 months of imprisonment followed by 5 years of supervised release.

On August 22, 2017, LAWSON was named in an Indictment charging him with Possession of a Firearm by a Felon. On November 13, 2017, LAWSON, pled guilty to that charge.

On May 16, 2017, deputies from the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office (RCSO) responded to a report of a stolen firearm. When the deputies arrived at the residence, LAWSON’s nephew reported he was asleep in his bedroom when his uncle, woke him to ask for money. The nephew felt that LAWSON was under the influence of some type of drug and refused to give the defendant money. He noticed his .40 caliber handgun located on the bedside nightstand prior to falling back to sleep. The nephew was next awaken by the sound of a vehicle engine and noticed the handgun was no longer on the nightstand. He immediately contacted law enforcement to report the firearm stolen by LAWSON. RCSO deputies were able to locate LAWSON's vehicle and initiated a traffic stop. The defendant was removed from the vehicle and the firearm was recovered from the driver side floorboard. LAWSON has previously been convicted for numerous breaking and entering’s, including stealing a total of 9 firearms during those offenses.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority. In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.

The Robeson County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) conducted the criminal investigation of this case. Assistant United States Attorney Jane J. Jackson handled the prosecution of this case for the government.

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Field Division: Charlotte Field Division