Family Announces $10,000 Reward for Information Leading to Conviction of Killer of David Josiah Lawson

Michelle-Charmaine Lawson held hands with her cousin Keesha Weaver as she recounted the early morning phone call that changed her life. [All photos by Mark McKenna]

Today, Michelle-Charmaine Lawson, mother of David Josiah Lawson who died after a stabbing at a party in Arcata on April 15th, announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of her son’s killer.

HSU President Lisa Rossbacher, standing in the back on the left, listened to the heart-wrenching details shared by Josiah Lawson’s mother.

The grieving mother was surrounded by family and friends as well as members of the Arcata community as she pled with “someone to do the right thing.”

Arcata Chief of Police Tom Chapman made a brief statement that the press conference was just an announcement of the reward and that the family would not be taking questions.

Police Chief Tom Chapman spoke. “People with information are encouraged to call the Arcata Police Department at 707-822-2428.” Later he also gave the numbers of the Lawson family attorney, (213) 426-5000 extension 1000, and also the Humboldt County District Attorney Maggie Fleming–(707) 445-7411.

Michelle-Charmaine Lawson receives a hug from her son’s friend Elijah Chandler.

Members of Brothers United, the HSU culture club of which Josiah Lawson was president were there. This included Elijah Chandler, the HSU student who described using CPR on Lawson as he lay dying.

Elijah Chandler, pleaded for someone to come forward with information in the case.

Chandler said, “You shouldn’t be afraid to come forward with information. You are not going to be penalized…This is about something much bigger than your guilt or your shame….This is about finding justice for Josiah… The people that did this are still out there. We need to make sure that whoever did this is held accountable…Have the courage to do the right thing.”

Elijah Chandler hugs Josiah Lawson’s uncle, Matt Weaver, following his plea for someone to come forward with information about the case.

Michelle-Chermaine Lawson is held by her cousin Keesha Weaver.

Michelle-Charmaine Lawson is held by her cousin Keesha Weaver.

HSU President Lisa Rossbacher spoke with Josiah’s mother after the press conference.

See the full video at KHSU. Donations to the family and to help get Justice for Josiah can be made here.

Earlier Chapters:



  • They don’t have to look far. Political correctness won’t solve it.

  • Actually it’s a little sad this is what our Justice system has come to. Bribes for the truth.
    And Me, I really don’t understand your post? You’re so bored you don’t care if the truth comes out in an obvious murder? Especially when we’re talking about 19 – 23 year old KIDS!! Not OK what happened. On any level.

  • DNA the knife and quit the chase… all they want is some closure

  • I really hope the investigators already know who did this, but are waiting for something before moving forward.

  • It’s sad when any 19 year old dies but the best way they could get justice is by working towards ending black on white racism. If the deceased and his two friends and his girlfriend weren’t very open, blatant racist that violently jumped someone together then this young man wouldn’t be dead. There are people who should be held accountable for their actions and one of them was a speaker with a shirt seeking justice on, how ironic. If an openly racist white man, who even had a video with black face on his FB, jumped a black guy with his white friends and got injured in the process it would be ludicrous to fight for “justice” for him, yet we are suppose to be okay with Josiah doing the exact same thing with white face and jumping a white guy, yet he is the victim? Sometimes you just have to take responsibility for your actions and Josiah played a significant part in causing his own passing. If you jump someone, you might get hurt too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are not a victim when you start a violent assault!!!!!!!!!

    • Jay, It sounds like the police should interview you because you seem to know a whole lot about the situation.

  • I swear this is one big act. Collusion between HSU and the NAACP. Looks like they’re going to ride this BLM horse till it drops. Sad.

  • Closure is finding out a “black” person accidently stabbed him. Wait sorry….”.african american” stabbed him…they dont want closure. They want to drag this poor me pity out for another six months. Yep. Yawn 😵😴

  • This is because the zebra had a reward for its killer and Josiah didnt…

  • I don’t understand how the other people involved in the assault haven’t been arrested and questioned individually, one of them knows what happened, if a group is involved in an assault and someone dies as a result everyone is responsible.

    • I’d bet 10,000 that one of Lawson’s buddies or girl accidentally stabbed him, or it was someone Lawson previously assaulted or someone trying to stop him from finishing choking Zoellner to death. Wasn’t the first time Lawson, Chandler and a different male jumped a white guy(according to police reports). But that was the last! Not sure why they think they can move here and go around assaulting people and then act like the victim. Sorry the moms hurting but honestly you can’t raise a racist violent person and expect people to bow at his feet and take a beating from an extremly openly racist person. How about demanding “Let’s end Racism!!” Instead of this ubsord demand for “justice” for an assalient.

  • Psssst hey chapman….he’s right behind you! (Photo number 3) you can even keep the 10k.

  • Hey, what ever happened to that African American guy in Arcata that used to run all over town backwards? Remember him?

  • Let’s see…
    1. Black kid gets murdered (yes, that is truly unfortunate).
    2. White kid gets arrested after getting the shit beat out of him, then let go for lack of credible evidence.
    3. Protests abound because the legal system worked properly, and the folks that protested by blocking streets and forcing people to call the DA aren’t arrested.
    4. White kid that got the shit beat out of him is still considered the killer, even though there is no credible evidence (perhaps yet, perhaps not).
    5. With all those folks at the party that night of which most had cell phones, there is not one video of anything that happened? Not even part way into the events? Don’t these kids know how?
    6. One of the witnesses that told the truth gets kicked out of the club?
    7. No one is arrested for beating the shit out of the white kid, even though they admitted to it?
    8. HSU president staff (one of which passed judgement even before the preliminary hearing) and APD chief are apologizing like crazy for what happened?

    It is unfortunate that someone got stabbed to death, and the killer is not yet known. It is unfortunate that the thugs that beat down a scrawny white kid have not been arrested.

    It is going to be interesting (and a bit sad) when these kids at HSU get on with their adult lives, find out that the world is a tough and cruel place. They will find that they will be on their own, and won’t have mobs of fake news social media idiots following them around, blindly chanting for whatever the cause of the day is.

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