Ohio Supreme Court upholds execution of man accused of mass murder of family

Arron Lawson, ordered to be executed in January 2026 for aggravated murder.

LAWRENCE COUNTY (WKBN) – The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that the execution of a man convicted of murdering a family near Pedro, Ohio will go forward.

According to court documents, Arron Lawson killed Stacey Holston; her eight-year-old son; her mother, Tammie McGuire; and her mother’s husband, Donald McGuire; on Oct. 11, 2017. He was 23 years old at the time.

Lawson surrendered to police and confessed to the murders, according to court documents.

According to investigators, Lawson was infatuated with his cousin, Stacey Holsten, and said that “she was the love of his life.” When Holsten broke off their relationship, Lawson hid inside her house and shot her after her child left for school. He then had sex with her corpse, according to court documents.

The victims’ family denies the relationship between Lawson and Holsten.

When the child returned home from school, he shot the child and then shot Holsten’s mother and her husband when they came to check on their daughter.

When Holsten’s husband came home from work, Lawson stabbed him several times and took off. He was caught a short time later.

In his appeal, Lawson said that the court did not mandate a competency evaluation and did not consider the anti-depressant medication he was taking, even though Lawson and his defense team did not request or agree to a competency hearing. Lawson said the judge should have ordered one anyway.

The high court ruled that the trial judge was not obligated to order a competency evaluation just because there were discussions about it and that being on antidepressant medication does not necessarily mean that a person cannot stand trial or that a judge should mandate a competency hearing.

Writing for the Court majority, Justice Sharon L. Kennedy noted that a medical expert testified that Lawson had been diagnosed with several mental illnesses, including bipolar disorder, which presented “significant mitigating factors” when considering whether the death sentences were appropriate.

“But this is also a case in which the defendant slaughtered four people, including the callous slaying of an 8-year-old child,” she wrote. “With respect to each of the four aggravated murders before us, we find that the aggravating circumstances outweigh the mitigating factors beyond a reasonable doubt.”

The ruling in the case was not unanimous. While the judges agreed on many aspects of the case, Justice Brunner did not.

I respecfully dissent from the majority’s judgement. I would reverse Lawson’s convictions and the sentences of death. I would further remand this case for the trial to order a comptency examination that is comptemplated ordering it accetped Lawson’s guilty pleas and to hold a hearing based on the findgings and recommendations contained in that evaulation, in accord with what I believe this court’s hodling should be, as express in this dissenting opinion

Justice J. Brunner

Arron Lawson is set to be executed on January 6, 2026.

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