Indiana woman sentenced to 85 years after being found guilty of murder, attempted murder in retrial

Rebecca Lawson

MARION COUNTY, Ind. — A jury found a Hancock County woman guilty of murder in a retrial after the Indiana Court of Appeals tossed out her original conviction.

In 2017, a jury convicted Rebecca Lawson of murder and attempted murder for a February 2016 shooting in Indianapolis that killed a man and wounded a woman. The victims were Patrick Brown, Lawson’s ex-boyfriend, and Cecelia Land, a romantic rival, investigators said.

She was sentenced to 85 years—55 years for murder and 30 years for attempted murder. However, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the conviction in November 2017. Lawson contended during her trial that the shooting was self-defense; the appeals court ruled that the trial court failed to properly explain the legal definition of self-defense before jurors began deliberations.

“Therefore, this failure to instruct the juror on self-defense denied Lawson fundamental due process and made a fair trial impossible,” the appeals court wrote at the time.

The appeals court tossed her conviction and called for a new trial.

The second trial began on Aug. 27 and concluded two days later. A different jury found her guilty of murder and attempted murder during the retrial.

On Sept. 12, Lawson was again sentenced to a total of 85 years, with 943 days of jail credit for the time she has already served.

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