New evidence in Sanford man's shooting death solves cold case

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SANFORD, Fla. —

A Sanford man was originally thought to have been killed while he tried to rob a woman during a home invasion, but new evidence proved that Danny Lawson was invited to the home where he was shot to death by a man, police said.

The Sanford Police Department said Terry Leroy Tillman, 26, of Sanford is charged with first-degree murder in Dawson's death.

On March 3, 2009 Sanford police said they responded to a shooting at Stratford Point apartments on Old England Loop. Two witnesses reported that Lawson forcefully entered the apartment, armed with a gun, and attempted to rob them. A witness, Avis Ingram, reported that when Lawson dropped his firearm, she picked it up and shot him in self-defense.

The State Attorney's Office found that with the information at hand and no additional witnesses, Ingram acted in self-defense. The case was then closed and considered a cold case.

However, in November 2013, two witnesses provided additional information that prompted Sanford police investigators to reopen the case. Investigators said they found out that on March 3, 2009 Lawson was invited to the Stratford Point Apartments. When he arrived at the apartment, unarmed, he was invited inside where he was shot by Tillman, who was armed with his own firearm, said police.

"Investigators are extremely happy they were able to give closure to this family that's been looking for closure since 2009," said Shannon Cordingly of the Sanford Police Department.

Tillman is currently in the custody of the Department of Corrections, serving a four-year sentence for a weapon offense. Tillman was scheduled to be released from prison on Jan. 27, 2014.

But instead of being released from prison, police said he will be transferred back to Seminole County on charges of first degree premeditated murder and attempted robbery.

Investigators said they also plan to go after Ingram, who they said delayed justice by lying.

"It's not over, by the least," said Cordingly.

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