Suspect in Teacher's Murder Was Also Accused of Robbery
|Lawrence Hunt is now charged with second-degree murder.|
Three years ago, when he was in 11th grade at Palm Beach Gardens High School, Lawrence Hunt was arrested for strong-arm robbery.
On February 19, 2007, Hunt and a couple of buddies were hanging out in the parking lot of Ambrosia Restaurant on South Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach. As an unnamed victim -- a juvenile -- rode by on his bike, witnesses saw Hunt and his friends knock him off his bike, punch him, and start going through his pockets, according to the police report. Some Ambrosia employees spotted the commotion and came outside, yelling at the men to stop. Hunt and his friends took off running.
West Palm Beach police officers tracked them down nearby, but Hunt and his friend, Sean Anthony Chin, kept trying to flee. The cops sent a K-9 to stop them, and the dog bit Hunt on the thigh before he surrendered.
Hunt, Chin, and the third suspect, Demarcus McFarlane, all admitted being at the scene of the crime but denied hitting or trying to rob the man on the bike, according to police reports. All three were charged with strong-arm robbery.
Chin, who was 18 at the time, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of misdemeanor battery. His only punishment was to pay his $685 court costs. It's unclear what punishment, if any, Hunt and MacFarlane received, because they were 16 and 17 at the time, and juvenile court records are not public.
Hunt's only other brush with the law was in August 2007, when he was arrested in North Palm Beach for possessing less than 20 grams of marijuana.
This May, Hunt was arrested after an early-morning brawl with Williams, a man he'd been having sex with for two years. Hunt told Riviera Beach police detectives that he shot Williams, 41, because Williams had HIV and was attempting to rape him.
But it may also have been a lovers' quarrel. Police detectives said Williams had another boyfriend who was hanging out with the teacher the night before the murder, had a key to his apartment, and discovered his body after Williams was shot.
Hunt is now in the Palm Beach County Jail, awaiting trial for second-degree murder. He has pleaded not guilty.