Jury Convicts Box Elder Man of Multiple Rapes, Assaults
GREAT FALLS—Following a three-day trial, Dallas Lawrence, 32, of Box Elder, Montana, was convicted by a Montana jury of two rapes, two strangulations, two assaults with intent to commit murder and assault with a dangerous weapon. U.S. District Judge Brian Morris presided over the trial. Lawrence now faces a maximum of life in prison for the rapes, twenty years on the assaults with intent to commit murder, and ten years for the strangulations and assault with a dangerous weapon. He also faces a $250,000 fine on each count, and up to five years of supervised release.
Evidence presented at trial by Assistant United States Attorney Laura Weiss, showed that Lawrence and the victim were in a relationship where Lawrence became increasingly physically and verbally abusive. In September 2013, Lawrence stabbed the victim in her calf. She was found walking around Havre, Montana, and was taken to the ER, where doctors observed the stab wound. The victim told the doctors her boyfriend had stabbed her in the leg and that she was in an abusive relationship. She said Lawrence had also tried to break her arms and legs to keep her from leaving.
The evidence also showed that in March 2014, Lawrence strangled the same victim with a humidifier cord after asking her, “How do you want me to do you in, fast or slow?” The victim was able to slip two fingers under the cord, but she still couldn’t breathe. She managed to escape the cord. Lawrence continued to control the victim after that by making her stay in her room, and controlling where she went and who she was around. He kept the keys to the car, and made threats to her about trying to leave him.
In May 2014, the defendant again strangled the victim after beating her. He asked her again if she wanted to die fast or slow. He gripped both hands around her neck and began to strangle her. She tried to slide away, but he kept strangling her to the point that she blacked out. Lawrence later told her he thought he had killed her and was going to hide her body in a crawlspace until he could find a place to bury it. During the same time period in early summer 2014, Lawrence forced the victim to have sex with him on two occasions.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Laura B. Weiss prosecuted the case.