Although cleared by a Comanche County jury in January following trial for a count of first-degree murder, a Lawton man was sentenced to serve 30 years in prison for having a gun he wasn’t supposed to have.
On Wednesday, Comanche County District Judge Jay Walker followed the jury’s recommendation and sentenced Frank Alexander Cooper III, 38, of Lawton, to serve 30 years in prison after being convicted of being a felony in possession of a weapon, records indicate. He receives credit for time served but was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.
A charge of use of a vehicle in the discharge of a weapon was dismissed.
Following three days of trial in January, the jury found Cooper not guilty of first-degree murder for the April 2021 killing of Lavonte Lawler.
With the introduction of Cooper’s prior criminal record and the felony charge of possession of a firearm following prior convictions, he was found guilty.
Over the course of the trial, the Comanche County jury heard conflicting arguments about what happened on April 17, 2021, that ended with Lawler, 28, shot in the mouth at close range and dead in the parking lot of Garrett’s Landings Apartments, 1321 SW 27th.
Cooper has prior felony convictions: June 2003, Tulsa County, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon; and May 2012, Shelby County, Tenn., for aggravated robbery, records indicate.