Man pleads guilty to girlfriend's murder, gets life in prison

3/25/2008
Lawrence Jameson watches potential jurors enter as his trial gets under way in Toledo.
Lawrence Jameson watches potential jurors enter as his trial gets under way in Toledo.

On the second day of his murder trial, Lawrence Jameson Tuesday afternoon entered a guilty plea in Lucas County Common Pleas Court in the death of his longtime girlfriend.

Mr. Jameson, 46, of Toledo pleaded to one count of aggravated murder with a firearms specification. He was sentenced to life in prison with the eligibility for parole after 20 years.

The conviction stems from the shooting of Tammy Bowlin Macrae, 46, inside Unit 269 of the Oak Hill Apartments on Aug. 25.





(From earlier editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.)

By ERICA BLAKE

BLADE STAFF WRITER

After a day spent together that went from "good to bad" and then from "ugly to deadly," Lawrence Jameson loaded a 9mm handgun, pointed it at his longtime girlfriend, and shot her twice, a Lucas County assistant prosecutor told a jury yesterday.

It's a situation that Mr. Jameson's defense attorney, Robert Scott, agreed happened - facts that he said were not in dispute.

But while the state contends that the murder was committed with "prior calculation and design," Mr. Scott told a jury in Lucas County Common Pleas Court on the first day of Mr. Jameson's trial it was a result of "serious provocation."

Mr. Jameson was charged with aggravated murder and murder, both with gun specifications.

He is accused of shooting Tammy Bowlin Macrae, 46, inside Unit 269 of the Oak Hill Apartments on Aug. 25 and then holding Toledo police at bay for about four hours.

"After Tammy called police, the defendant, a military veteran, walked into his bedroom. He took a 9mm handgun out of its case. He loaded it," Assistant Prosecutor Mark Herr said in his opening statement.

"He then walked into the hall between the bedroom and the bathroom and pointed the gun at his girlfriend of six years," he added.

"He waited until she looked - he wanted her to see it coming - and he shot her in the heart and he shot her in the head."

Jurors wait in a bus to tour the apartment on South Holland-Sylvania Road where Tammy Bowlin Macrae was killed.
Jurors wait in a bus to tour the apartment on South Holland-Sylvania Road where Tammy Bowlin Macrae was killed.

Prior to opening statements, jurors were taken by bus to the apartment complex at 2423 South Holland-Sylvania Rd. There, they each toured the small apartment and were told to notice the size.

After they left, a shackled Mr. Jameson was accompanied by his attorney and four sheriff's deputies into the apartment and told the same information that was given to the jurors.

The tours of the apartment, about 10 miles from the courthouse in downtown Toledo, lasted only moments.

During opening statements, Mr. Herr told jurors how the couple, who had been dating for six years, had gone from bar to bar on Aug. 25 and then to a local restaurant. They must have begun argue, he continued, because they left without eating and returned to the apartment.

Ms. Macrae started gathering her clothes and told Mr. Jameson that she was going to leave, Mr. Herr said.

At 5:03 p.m., she called police. "She called 911 and said that her boyfriend wouldn't allow her to leave," he said.

When police arrived more than 20 minutes later because of a miscommunication on the address, "we believe Ms. Macrae was already dead," Mr. Herr said.

Officer Richard Holland testified that he and his partner arrived at the address and knocked several times on the door. Only when his partner turned the knob and found it open did they confirm anyone was inside.

The door, he said, was slammed shut from the inside.

During his initial conversation with Mr. Jameson through the door and then during a 45-minute call to him on Ms. Macrae's cell phone, Officer Holland said he was told of Mr. Jameson's military past.

Mr. Jameson also told him that bombs were rigged to both the door and to Ms. Macrae, Officer Holland testified.

"He told me that if we entered the apartment, he was prepared to dance," he said. "I asked what that meant and he said there would be a shootout like the OK Corral."

Mr. Scott questioned Officer Holland about the initial 911 call, noting that Ms. Macrae told dispatchers that Mr. Jameson owned a gun but that it was not out at the time.

He also pointed out that the reason officers were talking to Mr. Jameson on Ms. Macrae's cell phone and not Mr. Jameson's was because she had thrown his into bushes that day during the argument.

During the opening statements and witness testimony, more than a dozen members of Ms. Macrae's family watched from the courtroom gallery - each wearing pink ribbons in memory of the victim. Many wiped away tears.

The trial, with Judge Frederick McDonald presiding, will continue at 1 p.m. today.

Contact Erica Blake at:

eblake@theblade.com

or 419-213-2134.