A former Chief Deputy with the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department is facing criminal charges.
Kevin D. Lawson, who is listed in court records as residing in Gilman City, was charged in the Circuit Court of Harrison County on Monday.
The investigating officer with the Missouri State Highway Patrol reports that he began an investigation into allegations that employees of the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office mishandled evidence, destroyed Sheriff’s Department official documents, misused confidential informants, and abused their authority. During the course of the investigation, the officer states he identified former Harrison County Sheriff Deputy Lawson as a person of interest.
According to a probable cause statement filed with the court by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Lawson allegedly advised Harrison County Sheriff Trevor Place he destroyed and burned evidence logs. Those logs documented and provided written record of each item of evidence seized by the department. When Sheriff Place took control of the Sheriff’s Office Evidence Room on March 16, 2020 after the suicide death of former Sheriff Josh Eckerson, he was unable to locate the original evidence logs. Officers state a new evidence log was prepared by Lawson after the originals were destroyed.
Further investigation indicated that two purchases of a controlled substance had been made between August 10, 2019 and August 19, 2019 and that the new evidence log did not list the seizures as having been entered as evidence or secured in the Evidence Room. It is reported that Lawson was unable to provide an explanation as to why the evidence was not listed in the new evidence log.
Lawson is now charge with felony Tampering with Physical Evidence in a Felony Prosecution, alleging that between April 1, 2019 and March 16, 2020 he destroyed the original evidence log of the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department with the purpose to impair or obstruct investigations related to public corruption, felony tampering, and felony distribution of a controlled substance.
The second charge of felony Tampering with Physical Evidence alleges that between August 10, 2019 and August 19, 2019, Lawson failed to properly document a lawfully seized controlled substance on the evidence log of the Sheriff’s Office.
Lawson faces a third charge of misdemeanor tampering with a public record.
A criminal summons was issued with Lawson set to appear before the Associate Division in Harrison County on February 3rd.