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No Bail for Police Online Bounty Suspect

March 06, 2012  | 

The U.S. Attorney's Office in eastern Missouri has charged a Maplewood man in a murder-for-hire scheme after he posted a Craigslist ad offering $1 million bounties on local officers.

William Lawrence, 32, remained in custody Tuesday, following a detention hearing. No bail was granted.

Lawrence was arrested after he posted an ad that read, "Wanted dead, All the Maplewood city police officers, paying one million per head." The ad also mentioned a specific Maplewood detective, offering $2 million for his head.

A spokeswoman with the Department of Justice declined to say whether Lawrence had the capability to carry out the bounties.

The online threat came about as a result of an existing case. On Feb. 6, Maplewood officers responded to a disturbance at a 7707 Lindbergh Drive apartment that was occupied by Lawrence and his mother. Officers at the scene determined Lawrence was wanted on a failure-to-appear warrant.

When officers contacted Lawrence, he began lifting his shirt. Believing he was attempting to remove a weapon, officers used a TASER to subdue him. A search of the apartment uncovered a marijuana plant, drug paraphernalia, a .22-caliber rifle, and a shotgun with no serial number.

At least five times after the incident, Lawrence contacted the department, requesting the return of his firearms. He became angry and "repeatedly insisted that the police could not keep his guns," according to court documents from the case.

Authorities located Lawrence, after an Arnold, Mo., police officer and a police news website contacted the Maplewood Police Department, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Investigators located Lawrence, after obtaining an IP address that was associated with Lawrence's address.

Lawrence faces 10 years in prison and a possible $250,000 fine if convicted.

By Paul Clinton


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