DeFuniak Springs man charged as accessory to Okaloosa murder

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Michael Lawson

WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — A DeFuniak Springs man is facing charges in Okaloosa County and Walton County after being connected to a murder, investigators said Tuesday.

On July 10th, Johnny Ray Kirk shot and killed an 80-year-old man at a park in Crestview located in Okaloosa County. A manhunt for Kirk continued through Walton County and ended when Kirk was killed in a shootout with Escambia County Sheriff’s deputies.

On July 11, the vehicle belonging to the victim of the Okaloosa homicide was located off of Linda Lane in DeFuniak Springs by members of the U.S. Marshals Task Force and members of WCSO.

On July 13th deputies with Walton County Sheriff’s Office located the shotgun that Lawson tossed out of the car before leaving town.

Intelligence was gathered that several individuals including Michael Lawson, 24, of DeFuniak Springs assisted Kirk after the incident by giving him a ride out of Walton County, deputies wrote in a news release. Information collected also indicated that Lawson had a sawed-off shotgun in his possession before leaving town with Kirk.

On July 11th, Escambia County located a vehicle with Kirk, Lawson and others inside. After a shootout with deputies, John Kirk was fatally wounded, and Lawson escaped. He was located the following day and arrested by ECSO.

On July 13th deputies with Walton County Sheriff’s Office located the shotgun that Lawson tossed out of the car before leaving town.

Lawson is charged with accessory to murder, displaying a weapon during the commission of a felony, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, and possession of a short-barreled shotgun.  He is currently incarcerated at the Okaloosa County Jail.

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