NEW ORLEANS – Greg Lawson was convicted of trying to murder a lifelong rival in Louisiana more than three decades ago. He skipped town before the jury handed down a guilty verdict and had been on the run until Tuesday when he was captured in Mexico. He nervously chuckled as officials placed him in handcuffs during his trek back to the U.S. to face his prison sentence.
Lawson, 63, has spent more than half his life evading police. That came to an end when the FBI field office in New Orleans received a tip that he was seen in Huatulco, Mexico, a resort region in the southwestern portion of the country, Law&Crime reported.
The Louisiana fugitive had been a wanted man since May 1991, when he vanished from the rural community of Ringgold, the FBI announced.
Louisiana fugitive Greg Lawson was captured in Mexico more than 32 years after he was convicted of attempted murder. (Screenshot KTBS 3)
When the crime occurred, Lawson was 31 years old. He was found guilty of attempted second-degree murder for trying to gun down his lifelong rival. People in the small town of less than 1,400 residents recall the incident as the biggest shootout Ringgold had ever seen, KTBS reported.
The victim in the attempted murder was identified as Seth Garlington, someone Lawson had known since childhood. Lawson tried to run Garlington’s car off the road moments earlier, leading to a fight in a gas station parking lot where guns were drawn, according to the New York Post.
Garlington was struck by gunfire, but survived his injuries, leading to Lawson’s conviction. However, before the jury delivered its verdict, Lawson bolted from town.
Video obtained by KTBS in Shreveport shows Lawson — escorted by law enforcement personnel — walking off a plane at a Houston airport on Wednesday, where he appeared to nervously chuckle while being met by Louisiana authorities who handcuffed him for the first time in 32 years.
Authorities said the fugitive was taken to the Claiborne Parish Detention Center for booking.
“We want to thank our partners and the public in this case, who never gave up hope that justice could be served for Mr. Lawson’s victim,” Douglas A. Williams Jr., special agent in charge of FBI New Orleans, said in a statement.
“There is no doubt that Mr. Lawson might still be in the wind if our partners in Mexico had not been willing to deal with this so swiftly.”