News and Press Releases


August 12, 2010

– U.S. District Judge Inge P. Johnson today sentenced the second of two men involved in a July 29, 2009, car bombing at a home in Parrish to 18 years in prison, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and ATF Special Agent in Charge Glenn Anderson.

Judge Johnson also ordered KEITH DEWAYNE LAWSON, 43, of Northport, to pay $771,900 restitution and to serve three years supervised release after completing his prison sentence.

The judge directed the restitution be divided among the bombing victim, Frank Weems, and insurers. She ordered LAWSON to pay $220,900 to Weems to cover lost wages and medical costs not covered by insurance. She directed him to pay $540,000 to Blue Cross-Blue Shield and $11,000 to State Farm Insurance.

“Keith Lawson and Michael Earnest built, placed and remotely detonated a bomb in a  cold and calculated attempt to murder a man at his home,” Vance said. “Thanks to keen police work by the Parrish Police chief and the immediate support and investigative work of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives, the FBI and the Alabama Fire Marshal’s Office, these men were quickly caught and brought to justice,” she said.

“The sentence imposed today proves the severity of what happens when people involve themselves with a dangerous, unstable bomb designed to injure and kill,” Anderson said. “This was no accident or prank gone bad, but a murder plot, plain and simple. Lawson is being held accountable today and will have plenty of time in federal prison to think about his decisions,”  Anderson said.

LAWSON and Earnest pleaded guilty in December to charges connected to the car-bombing that seriously injured Frank Weems when the device exploded beneath his truck. Both men pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to possess an unregistered explosive device, possession of an unregistered explosive device and being a felon in possession of a firearm, which was the explosive device. Earnest also pleaded guilty to a second felon in possession of a firearm count for two shotguns and a pistol found in his Northport home.

Judge Johnson in March sentenced Earnest to 20 years in prison.

According to LAWSON’S plea agreement, he had agreed to kill Weems for $10,000. Components of a homemade bomb collected at Weems’ home were later traced to LAWSON and Earnest. The remnants of the bomb included a remote-control device that was traced to a remote-controlled toy boat that LAWSON and Earnest bought at a Walnart in Northport a few days before the bombing.

Assistant U.S. Attorney L. James Weil Jr. prosecuted the case.


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