Judge reserves ruling on whether to end former SAO investigator’s probation

Published: July 12, 2021 6:34 PM EDT

The man responsible for a DUI hit-and-run crash that killed a father on Christmas Day in 2013 wants a judge to end his sentence two years early.

A judge heard Charles Lawson’s plea Monday morning and ultimately said he needs more time to decide whether Lawson has served his time.

The prosecutor on Monday called Lawson’s original sentence of three years imprisonment and five years probation “a gift.” Lawson served two and a half years in state prison before he was released to probation.

Lawson was silent as he stood before Judge Nicholas Thompson, but his presence in court spoke volumes, sending the Sasen family a message they didn’t want to hear.

“Just go back to your house and leave my family to heal up which never will heal. But at least we don’t have to get the wounds cut open like it is right now,” said Scott Sasen.

It was Scott’s dad Michael who was hit and killed in the early hours of Christmas Day in 2013. Lawson was behind the wheel and kept driving. He returned to the scene less than a half-hour later, but it was too late for Michael.

“That hurt my heart and I watched it hurt my nephew, going through courts, the courts, the courts,” said Dean Sasen, Michael’s brother.

With Lawson taking his case back to court, hoping to end his probation now instead of in 2023, the family is dealing with unimaginable pain all over again.

“I feel like two more years of this probation shouldn’t be anything compared to that, and riling up the whole family with this, it’s just causing more pain,” Scott said.

Lawson appeared in court Monday with a high-profile character witness: William Cameron, the former sheriff of Charlotte County.

“Charlie has done nothing but take responsibility … you need to take into consideration his entire life,” Cameron said.

The state said the sentence Lawson received – three years in prison and five years of probation – was already generous.

“He was trained in first aid, he could have saved this person’s life,” the prosecutor said.

“I just wish that he’d man up and just do his time and go on his way,” Dean said.

Thompson is not the same judge who handed Lawson his original sentence, so he promised to review the case file carefully, then issue his ruling. He did not offer a timeline for that.

Lawson previously sought a sentence reduction in 2016 but that was denied.