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Relatives of convicted killed make plea for mercy

The federal jury has already convicted Lawrence of killing Hurst, with intent, during a botched bank robbery at a Fifth Third Bank on E. Broad St.

Today, a cousin, a brother, a former girlfriend, and an aunt pleaded for mercy. They asked jurors to recommend life in prison and spare Lawrence's life. Florencia Walker told jurors Lawrence was born 30 years ago inside the Marysville Prison hospital to a drug-addicted mother. His father was absent throughout Lawrence's childhood.

Testimony indicates Lawrence was surrounded by drug abuse and addicts among some of his family members and in the neighborhood where he grew up. Cousin Kevin Robinson testified that Lawrence's knowledge of what he called the "dark side" should be taught to Lawrence's own children from behind bars.

Robinson, a Navy veteran who once helped Lawrence get a job in the mid 1990s, says Lawrence once told him he wanted to be a father, that anything was better than what he had. "Which was what?", asked defense attorney Diane Menashe.

"Nothing," answered Robinson.

Under cross examination, Robinson said he was unaware that his cousin was $15,000 behind in child support payments when he was arrested in January of 2005, three days after killing Officer Hurst. In earlier testimony, Hurst's widow, Marissa testified how she took the couple's young daughter to her father's gravesite for her first birthday. Hurst was working overtime at the bank lobby to make extra money when he was killed. During this sentencing phase of the trial, jurors must weigh the testimony of each side in determining whether Lawrence lives in prison for the rest of his life or is executed. Lawrence's brother Rico concluded his testimony today saying "I don't think we should keep taking an eye for an eye. Pretty soon, nobody will be able to see."