Indictment Says Lawson Helped Killer Todd Kohlhepp Illegally Get Guns

A federal grand jury has indicted the man who, according to court records, helped South Carolina serial killer Todd Kohlhepp get some of his guns.

Dustan Lawson, accused as Kohlhepp's supplier, faces 36 charges, including making false statements to the stores where he bought the guns and firearm accessories. He also is accused of transferring the weapons to Kohlhepp  "knowing and having reasonable cause to believe" that Kohlhepp had been convicted of a crime that would render him unable to make the buys himself.

The indictment against Lawson was filed in Spartanburg on Tuesday, according to electronic court records.

The buys and transfers of weapons and related accessories happened between October 2012 and July 2016, according to Lawson's indictment. Kohlhepp had not been charged with murder by then, but already had a conviction that would have rendered him unable to legally purchase firearms.

Kohlhepp was accused of raping a 14-year-old girl and holding her at gunpoint in 1986 when he was 15 and lived in Arizona. He eventually pleaded guilty to kidnapping her and was sentenced to 15 years in prison, according to court records.

After investigators found Anderson resident Kala Brown chained in a metal storage container on Kohlhepp's land last November, they learned that Kohlhepp had found a way to get guns. Brown told investigators that she saw Kohlhepp fatally shoot her boyfriend, Charles David Carver, on the same property, which is near Woodruff.

In custody, Kohlhepp mentioned Lawson by name in videotaped interviews with Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office investigators on Nov. 6, 2016. 

"You may want to seriously try to talk to Dustan Lawson and give him a heads up," Kohlhepp said. He described Lawson then as a "32-year-old ... kid"

Investigator Tom Clark told Kohlhepp that officers were interested in how Lawson got the guns.

"That was all legit," Kohlhepp said.

"He legitimately bought the guns?" Clark asked.

"Yes sir," Kohlhepp answered. "And then I modified the hell out of them."

Kohlhepp said he learned how to make the modifications by reading things on the Internet.

Over the years, Lawson transferred at least a dozen guns and multiple silencers and accessories to Kohlhepp, sometimes the same days he bought them and sometimes later, according to the indictment filed this month.

Lawson made false statements when he bought a .40 caliber handgun and a 7.62 caliber rifle from Academy Sports in November 2012, then transferred them both to Kohlhepp around the same time, according to indictments. Lawson also falsely applied for a silencer "for quiet target practice" that same month, and transferred it to Kohlhepp in September 2013, according to the indictment.

In December 2012, Lawson bought a .50 caliber rifle from Allen Arms and transferred it to Kohlhepp around the same time, according to the indictment.

In June 2013, Lawson bought a Glock .45 caliber handgun from Academy Sports and transferred it to Kohlhepp, according to court records. Lawson bought a  Glock .40 caliber handgun at Academy Sports ithe following month and transferred it to Kohlhepp, according to indictment.

In September 2013, Lawson bought a Glock 9 mm handgun and transferred it to Kohlhepp. Lawson also applied for multiple mufflers or silencers that month, which were ultimately transferred to Kohlhepp, according to the indictment.

In January 2014, Lawson bought another Glock 9mm handgun and a Sig Sauer 5.56 rifle and transferred them both to Kohlhepp, too, according to the indictment. .

In February 2014, Lawson bought a  Sig Sauer .45 caliber handgun and transferred it to Kohlhepp. In October 2014, Lawson bought a PTR Industries .308 rifle from Cabela's and transferred it to Kohlhepp around the same time, according to the indictment.

In 2015, Lawson falsely applied for more silencers, including at least one from James Firearm Sales in Greer, according to indictments.

In June 2016, Lawson bought a Sig Sauer 9 mm handgun from T&K Outdoors Inc. in Spartanburg and transferred it to Kohlhepp, according to court records.

The final purchase of Lawson's that is listed in the indictment is from July 7, 2016. That day, be bought a Ruger 308 handgun that was transferred to Kohlhepp, according to the indictment.

Efforts to reach Lawson on Saturday were unsuccessful. The publicly listed phone number for him has been disconnected.

It's not clear whether any of the weapons mentioned in the indictment may have been used in any of the  killings Kohlhepp claimed responsibility for.

Kohlhepp is serving life in prison after pleading guilty in May to kidnapping Brown and killing her boyfriend Carver. The couple disappeared from their Anderson apartment at the end of August 2016.  Kohlhepp also pleaded guilty to killing Spartanburg husband and wife Meagan Coxie and Johnny Joe Coxie, who disappeared in December 2015 and whose remains were also on Kohlhepp's property.

Kohlhepp also confessed to the long-unsolved killings at Superbike Motorsports in Chesnee. Workers Scott Ponder, Beverly Guy, Brian Lucas and Chris Sherbert were shot in 2003, but their cases went unsolved until Kohlhepp confessed last year.

Follow Nikie Mayo on Twitter @NIkieMayo or email her at mayon@independentmail.com

© Gannett Co., Inc. 2017. All Rights Reserved


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