No 2 -- Solsberry woman beaten to death

Friday, December 30, 2011
Randy Knapp
Stacey Jo Lawson

The beating death of Stacey Jo Lawson of rural Solsberry was voted the No. 2 news story for 2011.

Less than a week after the alleged brutal murder of the 28-year-old Lawson on Aug. 21, an arrest was made. Three charges were filed against Randy Knapp, 52, of Bloomington, including: murder, a felony; criminal confinement, a class B felony; and obstruction of justice, a class D felony.

Lawson died of blunt force trauma to the head, and her body was found in a wooded area near the Newark Baptist Church Cemetery.

Police said the victim was killed by blows from a large geode rock that had been displayed on the grave of her younger brother, Brandyn Takoda Scott Beck, 10, of Solsberry. Beck passed away March 4, 2008 and he is buried in the cemetery.

The victim frequently visited the gravesite, according to a 12-page probable cause affidavit filed by Greene County Sheriff's Department Deputy George Dallaire.

The arrest of Knapp was the result of a joint investigation by the Indiana State Police and the Greene County Sheriff's Department.

An autopsy performed Aug. 22 by Dr. Roland Kohr at Terre Haute Regional Hospital showed bruising and abrasions on Lawson's back and a deep, open fracture on the left side of her skull.

During an interview with detectives, Knapp denied killing Lawson, but said he did take her to the church cemetery. He also provided police with his whereabouts and timelines. However, police found those to be false after speaking with a number of witnesses, according to court records.

The case apparently evolved following the alleged suicide death of former Bloomfield resident Jeffe Sims, who's body was found at the Fairfield Inn, located on the westside of Bloomington

Court records show that Knapp, who is identified as the boyfriend to Jeffe Sims' mother, allegedly made death threats to several people -- including the minister who performed Sims' funeral -- M. Aaron Strunk, Jeremy Walker, and Lawson.

A pre-trial conference is scheduled for Jan 11, 2012 with a trial by jury on Jan. 30, 2012.