Parole decision for Middletown killer may take several weeks

A parole hearing was held June 5 for James Lawson, a Middletown man convicted 20 years ago of killing Cheryl Durkin and then cutting up her body.

A parole hearing was held Tuesday for a Middletown man convicted 20 years ago of killing Cheryl Durkin and cutting up her body in the basement of a Middletown house.

But it will be several weeks before the results of James Lawson’s parole hearing are released, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

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Lawson was found guilty of murder on Dec. 13, 1999. He was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.

In addition, Lawson is serving 12 concurrent months in prison for gross abuse of a corpse and five consecutive years for tampering with evidence. He pleaded no contest to those charges before his trial.

JoEllen Smith, ODRC spokeswoman said the results of Lawson’s parole hearing could take several weeks to be released.

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“If the board is unable to reach a decision at the panel hearing, the case will be referred to the Central Office Board Review for further consideration and deliberation,” said Smith. “If the board would issue a Parole Pending Full Board Determination action, that would then prompt the scheduling of a Full Board (Open) hearing at some future date.”

Durkin’s family, led by sister Karla Edwards, met with the parole board before the hearing, delivering a petition with 1,010 signatures to keep Lawson behind bars.

“He was a very violent person. This dude has got anger issues. He is a sociopath and what is he going to do when he gets out and gets mad at somebody? Kill them and then try to get rid of the body. I fear for any person who gets into his life,” Edwards said. “He hasn’t changed a bit.”

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