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Jury finds Tracy Lawrence guilty of murdering trespassing teens

JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) -- After two years of controversy and a week-long trial, the Tracy Lawrence murder case came to a climax Tuesday afternoon, with the 55-year-old being found guilty of two counts of second degree murder.

 

It took the jury one full day of deliberations to convict Lawrence for the murders of Hunter Lentz and Matthew McMillen in June 2016.

 

The two 18 year olds from Jackson were trespassing on Lawrence’s property in Springport Township when they were shot and killed.

 

Lawrence says he saw the men trying to break into a truck and garage outside his house and opened fire on them when it appeared they were running toward him.

 

It’s also believed the men were breaking into trailers on the property before they were shot.

 

But prosecutors say Lawrence had no way of knowing what the men were doing on his property and they were shot when they were trying to run away from him.

 

With the 55-year-old now found guilty, his bond has been revoked, meaning he will stay in the county jail until sentencing.

 

6 News spoke with the family of Hunter Lentz after the verdict.

They are satisfied with the outcome, and say this is the justice they’ve been waiting two years for.

 

This case took two years to reach a jury because of a dispute between prosecutors and the defense over evidence.

 

Investigators found that prior to their encounter with Lawrence, Lentz and McMillen were out all night breaking into garages and stealing tools.

 

The defense wanted this evidence admitted to show what brought the men to Lawrence’s property.

 

But the court of appeals sided with prosecutors, saying the evidence was prejudicial.  

 

Lawrence's sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 29.


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