Arcata, CA–Yesterday’s vigil in front of Arcata’s City Hall was somber. About 25 people gathered and although people wore feelings of sorrow on their faces, it could also be felt in the air.
The Eureka chapter of the NAACP along with concerned community members, continue to hold and attend vigils every month for David Josiah Lawson.
Lawson, 19, was a sophmore at Humboldt State University. He lost his life after being stabbed multiple times at a house party last year in Arcata.
Although the former Chief of Police suddenly resigned from what many community members viewed as public pressure over the case–and detectives and police officers who responded to the scene of the crime left the department shortly after the murder–there has yet to be any resolve in the case 15-months later.
Questions have been raised about the level of police competence the night of the murder and their effectiveness in securing the crime scene. Although a suspect was arrested at the scene, he was released three weeks later after a preliminary hearing.
The Judge cited a lack of physical evidence and contradicting testimonies. The suspects car however, was not entered into evidence the night of the murder, although it was parked directly in the middle of the crime scene.
“He was so young. This is not an innocent crime. Someone was killed,” one person in attendance stated. “The fact that there are people who are not being looked into further, who are being treated as witnesses rather than suspects, is alarming and telling of this county and this city.”
People were urged to write letters and continue to attend city council meetings to voice their concern over Lawson’s unsolved murder.
Things took an interesting turn when the family of one of the girls named a suspect by the Lawson family, showed up to the vigil inquiring on the whereabouts of Ms. Lawson.
Maria and Wayne McFarland arrived just as vigil attendees were leaving.
A poster was recently circulated on the Justice For Josiah Facebook page, with the names and photos of Maria McFarland, her daughter Angelica, the girlfriend of the accused who was released and two of her friends who accompanied her to the party that night.
Although it is uncertain who stabbed Lawson, the two parties did get into an altercation about a missing cellphone prior to the stabbing. Lawson’s girlfriend was left with bite marks to her breast which required a tetanus shot and a puncture wound to her arm.
“I’m the one who drove the car away from the scene,” Maria McFarland proclaimed to those in attendance. “But the police told me to.”
Some people trickled away from the couple but others lingered around to ask questions as they rambled on about the scene of the crime. The McFarlands answered questions and said they wanted to be transparent.
“If she has any questions she wants to ask, she can ask them, we are not hiding nothing,” Mr. McFarland said aloud referring to Ms. Lawson.
Ms. McFarland said that she wanted to stand tall with Ms. Lawson and have a mother to mother.
“We are not here to cause any problems we are here to give answers. I was there when the police found the knife and they were arguing amongst themselves. I’m walking through blood-splatter trying to find my daughter. Gosh, I want to talk to Ms. Lawson so bad. You have no idea.”
When asked if she was offended about her picture being circulated on a flier put out by the Lawson family as a person of interest, she said that she was more offended on how they got the picture.
“Whoever got the photo will know exactly what I’m saying.”