Judge Simms hears motions from elder Lawson’s defense in Crystal Rogers case

Special prosecutor Shane Young (left), reviews case documents during Thursday’s appearance in Nelson Circuit Court to review two motions filed by Steve Lawson’s defense attorney in the Crystal Rogers case.

Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Thursday, June 13, 2024 — Steve Lawson, one of the defendents in the Crystal Rogers case, was in court Thursday morning to ask Nelson Circuit Judge Charles Simms to rule on two motions filed by his defense attorney.

Lawon’s attorney, Ted Lavitt, had filed a request for Simms to dismiss the charges — complicity to murder and tampering with physical evidence — against Lawson because Lawson had met the conditions for an immunity agreement in his interrogation by agencies who were investigating the case.

Lavitt told the court that Lawson was told that if he wanted immunity, he had to tell the complete truth and not leave anything out or try to minimize his own role in the case. Investigators repeatedly told Lawson that the deal was solid as long as his testimoney was the truth.

Special prosecutor Shane Young told the court that that Lawson never met the conditions to receive immunity.

Lavitt disagreed, insisting that Lawson had met the terms of the offer of immunity.

Young said that Lawson was the first person who approached investigators and said he was involved with the disappearance of Crystal Rogers.

“After all the interviews, we were looking at it, and he was minimizing his role,” Young told the court. “And that led him to making untruthful statements.”

“Did he tell the truth about some stuff? Yes he did. Was Brooks Houck responsible for this? Yes. Can we show that from what Mr. Lawson gave us? Yes. But you have to be 100 percent honest,” Young said.

The lack of honesty was why there was no immunity deal, he said.

Young played clips from Lawson in interviews on several different dates offering conflicting testimony about moving Crystal Rogers car and possible involvement by Lawson’s wife at the time.

Lavitt accused investigators of coaching Lawson on the details they were wanting him to give them while they were outside the interview room on smoke breaks during his interrogation. In his court filings, Lavitt asserted that the investigators were desperate to have Lawson give sufficient testimony that would give them what they need to indict Brooks Houck for the murder of Crystal Rogers.

Lavitt insisted Lawson did not lie to investigators. He said the court should examine how investigators pressured Lawson into making statements that prosecutors would later point to as proof he was not being truthful.

“He told the truth (to investigators) because I counseled him to tell the truth,” Lavitt said. “I think he told the truth every time. He did not deliberately not tell the truth.”

“Our agreement was 100 percent truth with no omissions,” Young said. ‘The agreement was not to tell us what we wanted to hear.”

Lavitt told the court that after investigators had Lawson’s testimony to allow them to indict Brooks Houck for murder, they turned their backs on Lawson and reneged on the immunity deal.

ADMISSION OF TESTIMONY. Prosecutors agreed with Lavitt in regard that parts of Steve Lawson’s testimony would be inadmissible at a trial according to the Kentucky Rules of Evidence (KRE).

Lawson’s testimony to detectives that included offers of immunity will be inadmissible in court. Lavitt said he believed Lawson’s testimony to the grand jury should also be inadmissible, an assertion Young disagreed with.

MOTION TO SEPERATE CASES. An additional motion Judge Simms was to consider Thursday morning was a motion by the defense to separate Steve Lawson’s case from Brooks Houck’s and Joseph Lawson’s cases.

Sims said he would first rule on Lavitt’s mostion to dismiss Steve Lawson’s case and then Lavitt could decide how he wished to to procede with the motion to separate Steve Lawson’s case from that of Houck and Joseph Lawson.

Simms said he had additional material to review and will have a ruling on the motions as soon as he can.

MORE DETAILS SURFACE. The investigators’ recordings played in court Thursday revealed that Crystal Rogers car at one point was parked at a home on Thompson Hill Road where Joey Lawson allegedly lived.

In one of the recordings, Steve Lawson tells investigators that he told his son, Joey Lawson, that Crystal’s car had to leave the location where it was parked on Thompson Hill Road. Lawson said his son told him the car was “going to the BG.”

Joey Lawson later drove the car to the area of the 14 mile marker on the parkway and parked it. He was picked up from that location by his father.

Thompson Hill Road is located on KY 523, Deatsville Road. In December 2023, investigators from the FBI and KSP brought heavy equipment to a location on Thompson Hill Road for several days, seeking to collect possible evidence in the Rogers case.


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