A Buffalo man who repeatedly threatened to kill his estranged wife and their seven children and even threatened female prosecutors and witnesses before his latest trial has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for weapon possession.
Eugene Lawrence Sr., 52, of Peach Street, was given the maximum prison term Friday by State Supreme Court Justice Deborah A. Haendiges.
The judge noted the demeanor of family members who testified at Lawrence’s jury trial that ended in his conviction for second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. She said that there was no doubt they had suffered years of emotional and physical abuse by Lawrence.
Lawrence was arrested Dec. 8, 2012, at his home after police responded to his repeated threats to kill his family, according to Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III. Officers found a stolen, loaded .22-caliber revolver, a holster and 60 rounds of ammunition in his safe.
While Lawrence was in custody, and despite an order of protection, he contacted his wife at least 78 times over the next 13 months and eventually persuaded her to testify at his January trial that the gun was hers, Sedita said.
Lawrence also made recorded telephone calls from the Erie County Holding Center to other prosecution witnesses, advising them to say they “don’t know nothing” if they were questioned, Sedita said.
The district attorney said Lawrence also was recorded making threats against female prosecutors during his calls. “Those white witches … I know you’re listening,” Lawrence said. “You’ve seen my record, and you know I won’t forget.”
That criminal record included a 1986 manslaughter conviction for fatally slitting a victim’s throat and a burglary conviction for breaking down a locked door and stabbing another victim in the neck, shoulder and throat, Sedita said.
Lawrence has several other convictions for assaulting women, Sedita said.
In one case, he said, Lawrence broke a woman’s nose and told her not to leave his sight or he would take her in the woods, where he would beat, strip and tie her up, then leave her.
“Mr. Lawrence has consistently demonstrated his contempt for the law, disdain for the rights of others and hatred for women,” Sedita said.
As a result of “the skill and fearlessness” of Assistant District Attorneys Sara N. Ogden and Danielle M. Soluri in prosecuting the case, the district attorney said, “a vicious and manipulative sociopath will remain behind bars for the next 15 years.”