Fight over $20 Debt led to Karen Jordan’s Death, Detective Says

Bloody glass, bloody carpet, bloddy slippers and a bloody ten-dollar bill.

That’s what detectives found at Stephanie Lawson‘s home late at night on August 27, 2011.

At a preliminary hearing Thursday, Detective Norma Horne narrowed in on that $10 bill. It was the reason, police believe, that Lawson stabbed, and killed, Karen Jordan, Horne said.

Judge Gerald Fisher found “substantial probability” that Lawson committed the offense of second-degree murder.

Horne told the court that Lawson, Jordan and each of their significant others were drinking heavily at Lawson’s home. When Jordan asked her girlfriend for ten dollars, and received it, it enraged Lawson because Jordan owed Lawson twenty dollars.

The argument ended when Lawson went to the kitchen, took a knife, and stabbed Jordan in the throat, Horne said.

Lawson’s defense attorney, Lauren Bernstein, argued that Lawson told police that she thought her life was in danger, that Jordan’s girlfriend is not a reliable witness, and that Lawson, when she realized what had happened, had tried to help Jordan by calling 911.

Trying to keep Lawson from remaining jailed, Bernstein told the court that Lawson was scared and unhappy in jail but was trying to make the best of it. She’s working on a cleaning crew, on a wait-list for computer literacy courses, and is mentoring other inmates, many of whom are younger than Lawson, 44. Her sister and pastor were in court. Bernstein said Lawson was needed at home to care for her son.

Judge Gerald Fisher declined to release Lawson, but left the possibility of her release open by telling Bernstein that she could submit a written proposal with conditions of release for consideration.

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