published Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Lonnie Lee Angel Jr. guilty in Bledsoe County cookout beating death

  • photo
    Lonnie Angel Jr., left, is facing trial this week in the 2009 beating death of Donny Lawson during a cookout at Angel's property in Pikeville. At right, is Angel's defense council, Jim Smith, speaking to Circuit Court Judge Rusty Graham.
    Photo by Ben Benton.
    enlarge photo

A Bledsoe County man was convicted Tuesday in the 2009 beating death of a man during a cookout.

Late Tuesday evening, a jury found Lonnie Lee Angel Jr., 30, guilty of second-degree murder in the death of 44-year-old Donny Lawson, court officials said.

Angel had been charged with first-degree murder, felony murder and kidnapping.

The jury also handed down a $20,000 fine to Angel, officials said. The prison sentence, which will be set later, could range between 15 and 25 years, officials said.

Charges of first-degree murder, felony murder and kidnapping also were filed against three other men -- Preston Parker, Ray Tullos and Clinton Watson, records show.

Parker already is serving 171/2 years in Lawson's death, and Tullos was sentenced last month to 11 years in prison in the case.

Watson's court date is still pending, court officials said.

According to trial testimony, the fight initially began between Lawson and Parker, then was joined by Angel, Tullos and Watson.

Deputies found Lawson unconscious, lying in a pool of blood, and he died later at a hospital in Pikeville, Tenn., according to testimony.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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