DA: no charges will be filed in Lawson killing

Mad River Union

David Josiah Lawson

HUMBOLDT – The Humboldt County District Attorney's Office announced today that following a review of evidence, including testimony from witnesses, a criminal grand jury has declined to file any charges in the April 15, 2017 killing of Humboldt State student David Josiah Lawson.

Humboldt County District Attorney's Office press release

March 13, 2019

A Criminal Grand Jury was convened on February 28, 2019, to address the stabbing death of David Josiah Lawson. The jury received testimony from 25 witnesses, including experts in forensics and DNA. By law, the process included the opportunity for the Grand Jury to subpoena evidence and witnesses.

On March 13, the Grand Jury declined to indict any person in the stabbing death of David Josiah Lawson. Therefore, no charges will be filed in the case. The District Attorney has notified Mr. Lawson’s family of this outcome.

Humboldt State reaction

The following message was sent to the HSU campus community this afternoon. 

Dear University Community,

The Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office made an important announcement today about the investigation into the killing of Humboldt State University student David Josiah Lawson.

District Attorney Announcement is here.

I join you in feeling an immense sadness for Josiah’s mother Charmaine and other family members, his friends, and our entire community. Josiah was a positive and beloved member of our University and community. His loss was incredibly painful, and we continue to mourn him.

Members of our University community will be available to offer support in Jolly Giant Commons from 7 to 11 p.m. this evening.

Additional support and assistance are available for those who may need it. Students may contact Counseling & Psychological Services at 707.826.3236 or the Dean of Students Office at 707.826.3504. Counselors at Counseling & Psychological Services may also be reached after-hours at 707.826.3236, and the office has increased their hours for walk-in assistance during the coming days. Staff and faculty may utilize the Employee Assistance Program at 707.443.7358.

Lisa A. Rossbacher, Ph.D.

City of Arcata/Arcata Police Dept. reaction


The Arcata Police Department would like to thank District Attorney Maggie Fleming and her team for their work on the David Josiah Lawson murder investigation. We would also like to thank the jurors of Humboldt County who committed their time to review this case.
The Arcata Police Department's goal is to present an investigation to the District Attorney that will meet the standard required by law for prosecution. We respect the decisions that have been made and will go right back to work to identify the suspect who murdered David Josiah Lawson.
"The outcome is disappointing and not what we hoped for. The City brought outside homicide expertise in to complete the investigation. We remain committed to solving this case for the Lawson family and our community. Chief Ahearn has increased staff dedicated to criminal investigations and they will immediately get back to work on this case," said Mayor Brett Watson of the Grand Jury decision.
The Arcata Police Department will build upon the initial investigation in search of witnesses who have yet to come forward; building leads as new information becomes available. We will not rest until Josiah's killer is identified and held accountable.
We continue to need the public's assistance to help identify witnesses who have information that will lead investigators to understand with specificity who is responsible for Josiah's murder.
Anyone with information regarding the murder of David Josiah Lawson is asked to call the Arcata Police Department at 707-825-2520 or 707-601-6943.



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