116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — A Sioux City felon who unlawfully possessed a gun and led police on a car chase was sentenced Thursday in federal court to more than four years in prison.
Dennis Lawson, 23, pleaded guilty in December to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
According to evidence at the plea and sentencing hearings, Lawson and a woman were in a parked car Feb. 23, 2020, when they were seen using a needle to inject drugs. They were parked in a Cedar Rapids parking lot but when an officer approached the vehicle, Lawson drove off.
Officers chased Lawson, who eventually crashed his car into two trees, according to court documents. During the chase, Lawson forced the woman to throw a gun out the window, which officers immediately recovered.
After the crash, Lawson tried to run but slipped and fell.
Prosecutors said Lawson has multiple previous felony convictions, including a conviction for burglary and two convictions in state court for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Additional evidence showed while Lawson was in the Bremer County Jail on May 16 pending sentencing, he used a sock with a bar of soap in it to assault another inmate. Lawson also insulted and shoved a jail employee who was attempting to stop the assault. As a result, Lawson lost credit for accepting responsibility and received an increased sentence.
U.S. District Judge C.J. Williams sentenced Lawson to 51 months in prison. Lawson also was ordered to serve three years of supervised release following his prison term.
He remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service until he is assigned to a federal prison.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tony Morfitt and investigated by the Cedar Rapids Police Department and Cedar Rapids Safe Streets Task Force. The task force includes law enforcement from the FBI and Marion and Cedar Rapids police departments.
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