Man tied to gun that killed 2 Westerville officers sentenced to 5 years in prison

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A man who pleaded guilty to charges related to providing the gun used to kill two Westerville police officers was sentenced to five years in prison.

Federal prosecutors say 30-year-old Gerald Lawson, of suburban Cleveland, bought the handgun that 31-year-old Quentin Smith used in the February slayings of Westerville officers Eric Joering and Anthony Morelli.

Lawson was also ordered to receive treatment for addiction. In addition, upon his release, he will have three years of supervision and undergo testing for alcohol and drugs.

Lawson pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of aiding and abetting a prohibited person in possession of a firearm.

A criminal complaint says Smith gave Lawson the money to buy the gun last summer along with $100 for completing the transaction. Smith wasn’t allowed to have weapons because of a previous burglary conviction.

Ben Glassman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, said this case clearly demonstrates the dangers of straw purchasing. “He knew when he obtained the firearm for Smith, he knew that Smith was a prohibited person both because of his burglary conviction and because of his prior conviction for domestic violence.”

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