UPDATE: Verdict may come Wednesday for man accused of opening fire on Gadsden deputy

Gadsden County deputy testifies about day she found herself under fire
Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 10:35 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 23, 2022 at 4:35 PM EDT
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Quincy, Fla (WCTV) - The state rested its case late Tuesday as Dexter Lawson stands trial in the shooting of a Gadsden County deputy.

The defense rested its case just minutes later, without calling any witnesses. Lawson, who is representing himself at trial, decided against testifying on his own behalf.

Testimony spanned two days. Deputy Chicara Hearns took the stand for about an hour Monday and again Tuesday morning.

Lawson did cross examine the deputy Tuesday and apologized to her.

“I just want to say that I apologize to you,” Lawson said. “I mean, I wasn’t in my right state of my mind at the time and it happened all fast, so I just want to say that and I’m through.”

Lawson is accused of ramming Deputy Hearns’ patrol car and opening fire back on November 16, 2021. Prosecutors say Lawson was behind the wheel of a stolen plumbing truck when Hearns tried to pull him over on Jamieson Road in Havana.

Deputy Hearns was shot three times. She has since returned to work at the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office.

Melody and Robert Rodriguez also took the stand Tuesday and described hearing the sound of gunfire and a deputy knocking on their door moments later.

The Rodriguez’s - who live right near the scene of the crash and shooting - testified they called 911 and then did their best to administer first aid to Deputy Hearns until paramedics arrived.

The jury will return Wednesday morning for closing arguments and to begin their deliberations.

QUINCY, Fla (WCTV) - A Gadsden County deputy testified Monday about the day she found herself under fire behind the wheel of her patrol car.

Chicara Hearns took the stand just after four in the afternoon and described what happened as she pursued a stolen plumbing truck on November 16, 2021.

“What did you do when he started shooting?” State Attorney Jack Campbell asked.

“I began to panic,” Deputy Hearns said. “I had my seat belt on, I was trying to hit the red button to release the seat belt and it was stuck. So that was my whole...I was trying to get out of the seat belt.”

Hearns testified she didn’t realize at first that she had been hit.

Hearns was still on the stand when the judge sent the jury home just before 5 p.m. Her testimony will continue Tuesday morning.

Jurors also got to see a surveillance video from inside the stolen Keith McNeill plumbing truck. Prosecutors claim that video shows Dexter Lawson hitting the deputy’s car head on.

Lawson is facing charges of attempted murder, grand theft motor vehicle and more in connection with the chase, crash and shooting off Jamieson Road in Havana.

Lawson is representing himself at trial and did not cross examine Deputy Hearns or the other witnesses called to the stand on the first day.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Opening statements are now underway in the trial of a man accused of trying to kill a Gadsden County Sheriff’s deputy.

A jury was chosen and sworn around 3 p.m. after six hours of questioning.

Dexter Lawson is facing attempted murder charges. He’s accused of ramming a deputy’s car and opening fire during a pursuit in November 2021.

Dexter Lawson is representing himself at trial. State Attorney Jack Campbell is prosecuting the case.

Deputy Chicara Hearns, who survived the shooting, is in the courtroom too.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Dexter Lawson is now on trial, accused of trying to kill a Gadsden County Sheriff’s Deputy who spotted him in a stolen service truck.

The shocking shooting happened on November 16, 2021 as Deputy Chicara Hearns was pursuing a plumbing van reported stolen out of Leon County.

Jury selection began Monday morning in a Gadsden County courtroom and the trial is expected to last three days.

Gadsden County court records show Lawson is facing two counts of attempted murder, one count of grand theft motor vehicle, one count of tampering with evidence and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Court records show the defense is “pro se,” meaning Lawson is representing himself at trial.

Lawson was arrested after a chase, shooting and manhunt off Jamieson Road in Havana. Authorities say Lawson rammed the deputy’s car and opened fire.

Hearns was shot three times. The Gadsden County Sheriff says a bullet proof vest saved her life.

Hearns was released from the hospital and back home recovering five days later.

GCSO tells us Hearns is back to work now, serving as a bailiff.

It all started at a fast food restaurant on North Monroe Street when Leon County deputies say Lawson traded his bicycle for a plumbing truck that was left running in the parking lot.

The chase and shooting came just seven months after Lawson was released from prison, Florida Department of Corrections records show.