William Lawrence, Who Offered $1 Million On Craigslist To Kill Maplewood Cops, Sentenced
Those words posted on Craigslist by William Lawrence, a 33-year-old Maplewood resident, have officially earned the man a six-year prison sentence, a judge ruled yesterday in the bizarre death-threat case that reportedly prompted Craigslist founder Craig Newmark to get involved.
Lawrence had previously pleaded guilty to "using the Internet in furtherance of murder for hire."
This sentencing comes more than a year after a judge ruled that he was "mentally competent" to stand trial.
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His public defender, Michael Dwyer, was apparently "stunned" yesterday by the sentence and asked U.S. District Judge Carol Jackson to reconsider a sentence that he called "egregiously more than necessary," the Post-Dispatch reports.
The judge, however, did not reconsider, which means Lawrence will have to serve the 72-month prison sentence.
Federal authorities say that on February 6, 2012, officers from the Maplewood Police Department responded to a neighborhood disturbance and during the course of the investigation determined that Lawrence had an outstanding warrant.
He was arrested and "combative during the course of the arrest," prompting officers to conduct a "protective sweep of the apartment."
During the search, they found a shotgun with no serial number and a .22-caliber rifle and also detected a "strong odor of raw marijuana." They then discovered a large pot plant as well as drug paraphernalia.
He was subsequently taken to jail and eventually released.
Lawrence, however, was apparently not at all pleased about his confiscated guns. After his release, he contacted the department on multiple occasions and "demanded the return of his firearms," prosecutors say. "On each occasion, he was advised that the guns were being retained as evidence and would not be returned."
About a month after he was first arrested, police received a call from an officer in a neighboring police department who had seen the Craigslist ad that essentially placed a placing a $1 million bounty for the death of Maplewood cops -- and two million for a certain detective he especially did not like.
Charter Communications' law enforcement team traced the IP address to Lawrence, who was arrested again -- this time facing more serious charges.
Lawrence is reportedly the son of a former Maplewood police officer and suffers from bipolar disorder and depression.