When David Josiah Lawson headed off to college in Arcata, California, from his native of Riverside County in 2015, no one could have ever imagined he’d end up losing his life within two years
After all, as carefully explored in ‘Crime Junkie’ Podcast’s ‘Murdered: David Josiah Lawson,’ he was an ambitious, bright, and caring youngster with big dreams and no known enemies of any sort.
So now, if you wish to learn precisely what transpired, along with its ensuing formal investigations as well as the overall complex aftermath, don’t worry; we’ve got the essential details for you.
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David Josiah Lawson: How Did He Die?
At the age of 19, Jamaican-American David, who was the first generation of his family to be born in the United States, had successfully built a good, happy, and pleasant life for himself as a sophomore studying criminal studies at Humboldt State University.
In point of fact, not only did he share an apartment off campus with a number of his closest friends, but he was also a proud member of the cultural group known as Brothers United, which was predominately comprised of Black people.
He was the oldest of three children raised by a single mother, and as such, he was responsible for helping out around the house whenever he could, even though he was living nearly 700 miles away. Despite this, he was simply living the best life that was possible for him.
However, everything changed in the early hours of April 15, 2017, when David was stabbed multiple times while attending a house party on Spear Avenue. This left the entire nation perplexed to its very core, and it was at this point that everything began to change.
Unfortunately, despite the fact that other partygoers called 911 as soon as they saw the teenager lying in the front yard, there was nothing that could be done to save his life and he was taken to a nearby hospital as soon as they could get there.
Because of this, he was declared dead at 4:07 in the morning, and the multiple piercing wounds he received from a 10-inch kitchen knife were determined to be the official cause of death. In particular, the wound that he took directly to his heart was considered to be the fatal wound.
David Josiah Lawson: Who Killed Him?
Michelle-Charmaine Lawson, David’s mother, claims that her eldest son was killed in a senseless manner after he and a group of his friends were accused of stealing a rose gold iPhone 7 that was later found.
Michelle-Charmaine Lawson is David’s mother. On that particular evening, this group included him, his almost one-year long girlfriend Renalyn Bobadilla, his roommate Annalicia Johnson, and two brothers named Kyle and Kristoff Castillo. All of them were students at HSU.
Even though there were five of them, the fact that they were leaving the party at three in the morning after having been there for only an hour was irrelevant because they ran into another group of five individuals as soon as they exited the building.
Before accusing them of stealing a cell phone and demanding that they empty all of their pockets, Lila Ortega, her boyfriend Kyle Zoellner, and their three friends had stopped them and demanded that they empty all of their pockets. According to the court records, at that point Kyle Castillo asked Lila’s boyfriend to tell her to calm down despite the fact that her phone was the one that had gone missing.
However, at that very moment, a fight broke out between Lila and Renalyn. This obviously led to both of their partners joining in as well, but it all broke off within a few moments without making a mess; David, his girlfriend, and the two brothers actually managed to walk away from the confrontation.
Renalyn testified that after she realised that she had been pepper sprayed, she immediately turned around and confronted Lila as well as another woman.
Despite this, Renalyn went back in time to confront Lila and the other woman. A witness overheard this argument and informed David of it, only for David to state that he was going to grab her so that they could leave; the next moment, he was somehow wrestling with Kyle Zoellner.
A witness overheard this argument and informed David of it. David stated that he was going to grab her so that they could leave. David had Kyle in a chokehold when their mutual friend Paul Wright arrived to break up the fight in the front yard, but the hold wasn’t very effective because Kyle had already been stabbed by the time Paul arrived. The two were fighting on the grass in the front yard.
Because of this, a bloodied Kyle was taken into custody almost as soon as the authorities arrived at the scene. However, a preliminary hearing was held to determine whether or not his case would proceed to a jury trial. The proceedings started on May 1, 2017, only two weeks after the incident, and the primary goal was to determine if there was enough evidence for the matter to even reach a verdict.
This was done by determining whether or not there was sufficient evidence for the matter. There were testimonies from friends, witnesses, police officials, and medical professionals, but the final verdict was to have the charges against Kyle dropped for good because he could plead self-defense. This was because he was able to protect himself from the attacker.
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David Josiah Lawson: Murder Weapon
The murder weapon, however, was found under a car that was parked right next to where David and Kyle were fighting, and the DNA found on the murder weapon belonged to both of the men. This is an extremely important fact to keep in mind.
There are also allegations that Lila had a bag of chef’s knives in her apartment the day after the party, which she allegedly claimed was in the vehicle that her boyfriend had driven to the party but was missing one of the knives.
In addition, a witness testified that they had seen David involved in a fight just outside the house on Spear Avenue before hearing the phrase “Oh, shit, he has a knife,” despite the fact that the witness was unable to positively identify the perpetrator of the attack.
On the other hand, there are allegations that the knife, or the area from which it was recovered, contained fibre evidence that was consistent with the clothing that David’s friends as well as his girlfriend were wearing.
David Josiah Lawson: Who Was He?
The National Police Foundation has since made the discovery that the initial investigation conducted by the Arcata Police Department was not even close to being adequate.
To begin, the Arcata Police Department did not even secure the entirety of the crime scene. In addition to this, the primary investigator had no prior experience working on homicide cases, Kyle’s vehicle was allowed to be driven home without undergoing a single search, and one witness altered her story at least three times.
The fact that many witnesses and other possible suspects were effectively allowed to communicate with one another or walk away from the crime scene without being given a second glance also did not help the investigation in any way.
As if this wasn’t enough to complicate matters, Kyle was only questioned for a mere 15 minutes despite the fact that it was obvious that the blood on his clothes wasn’t consistent with his injuries; it was much, much more.
As if this wasn’t enough to complicate matters, the blood on Kyle’s clothes wasn’t consistent with his injuries; it was much, much more.
However, he has always maintained his innocence, and to this day, no one has come forward to say that they saw him definitively stab David to death. As a result, he is still a free man and has not been found guilty of any crime.
It is important to point out that David’s mother filed a lawsuit against the city of Arcata and its Police Department on the grounds that their investigation into the murder of her son was insufficient, incompetent, and racially biassed.
On the other hand, Kyle filed a lawsuit against them on the grounds that they not only infringed upon his rights but also slandered him by unlawfully arresting, detaining, and prosecuting him. The city disputed the claims in the lawsuit.
Since then, both cases have been resolved, one for $200,000, which includes a donation of $25,000 to a scholarship fund established in David’s name, and the other for $700,000; however, the murder case has sadly not been solved.
David Josiah Lawson Murder: Unsolved Case
- David Josiah Lawson was a black student at Humboldt State University, which is now known as Cal Poly Humboldt. He was tragically stabbed to death on April 15, 2017, at a house party not far from campus. It has been five long years for the family of David Josiah Lawson, who was a victim of this tragedy.
- They allege that the case was severely compromised by police mishandling of the crime scene, as well as further missteps in the process of evidence collection and gathering witness testimony.
- The Lawson family has worked tirelessly to advocate for a resolution to the case, which they allege was severely compromised by police mishandling of the crime scene.
- After five years without a conviction in the homicide of the student, the Lawson family and the community as a whole have witnessed the changing leadership of three Arcata police chiefs, two university presidents, have heard from several investigation consultants and detectives, and have seen one extensive, independent Police Investigation Review.
- All of these events have taken place despite the fact that there has not been a conviction in the case. In addition to the alterations and, more accurately, the challenges that the passage of so much time has brought to the community, the electorate of the county is on the verge of voting in a new District Attorney who might be able to inherit the case.
- During a phone interview this week, Ms. Lawson expressed a mix of hope and frustration, citing the fact that the nuances of science further complicate the investigation process for a small-town police department that already struggles to address complicated crimes with limited resources.
- When she was speaking candidly, her slight Jamaican accent was audible, and it was clear that she was expressing how happy she was to hear of the change in leadership at the district attorney’s office in the county. Lawson was eager to learn what effect this might have on the possibility of bringing criminal charges against a suspect in the murder of her son.
- Lawson shared her thoughts with us, saying, “I want to know they will be the voice for victims and their families.” We will hold to the highest possible standard whoever wins the election for the position of District Attorney (DA). We are going to make them answer for their actions, just like we did with Maggie Fleming.
- She went on to say, “I am aware that there is no such thing as a perfect District Attorney. That makes perfect sense to me. I am aware that there is no such thing as a flawless law enforcement officer. That makes perfect sense to me.
- However, Humboldt County requires a District Attorney who is honest and who cares about the residents of the community, particularly those who are black, brown, or indigenous. We require leadership that will show concern for that relatively small segment of the population in Humboldt County.
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