Grand jury finds no wrongdoing during pursuit of kidnapper
By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican
Members of a Chase County grand jury found no wrong doing in the actions of law enforcement surrounding the Aug. 25 death of kidnapper Dwayne Lawrence, 38, of Lincoln.
Special Prosecutor Charles Brewster of Kearney said the grand jury convened in secrecy Thursday, Nov. 21, in the Chase County Courtroom.
He said the grand jury heard testimony and reviewed evidence from the events surrounding Lawrence’s death,
Members of the grand jury began their work at 9 a.m. and came back with their decision about 4 p.m. that day.
County Clerk Debbie Clark said 16 jurors and three alternates were selected to sit on the grand jury.
Brewster said the jury found there was no crime by law enforcement, or anyone else, during the manhunt that led up to Lawrence’s death from a self-inflicted gunshot.
Because Lawrence died with law enforcement agencies at the scene trying to procure his arrest, state law requires that a grand jury investigation into the death be held.
Lawrence’s death ended a 33-hour statewide manhunt that began in Lincoln after he kidnapped his wife, Imperial native Julie Hanes, 38, at gunpoint from her Lincoln hair salon.
They crisscrossed the state en route to Imperial and were sighted in the early morning, Aug. 25.
Local, county and state law enforcement agencies converged on the cornfield where they believed Lawrence was hiding, with Hanes as his captive.
After releasing Hanes early that evening, Lawrence took his life while still in the cornfield.