It was chilly just before the morning rush on Dec. 5, 1987.
At 5:40 a.m. convenience store clerk Vickie Gail Lawson was working the red-eye shift at the Favorite Market on East Second Avenue, and a man came in demanding money.
The 30-year-old woman was compliant, telling police she said OK to the command, but he grew immediately violent and struck her in the face with a brick. He then stabbed her in the chest, causing a fatal wound.
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Lawson lived long enough to describe her attacker, but it wasn’t enough. She couldn’t positively identify the man.
“She lived a day longer but couldn’t positively identify anyone involved,” Rome Police Capt. Terry Autry said. “We had a strong suspect.”
The suspect, arrested in another robbery, supposedly told someone in the jail he’d stabbed Lawson, but didn’t know she’d died until later.
“There was just never enough that we could pin this one on him,” Autry said.
A string of robberies that year, especially Lawson’s, brought to light the security needs of area businesses — especially ones that provide 24-hour service.
A year after Lawson’s death, Rome adopted a city ordinance requiring all-night stores to have an operating video camera system or two clerks on duty.
Fifteen years earlier, on Sept. 4, 1972, people living near a Supreme Oil service station on Calhoun Road near Shannon heard two gunshots before seeing a ’60s model light colored Ford Fairlane speeding away toward Rome.
It was a little later, around 11:30 p.m., when a Summerville couple found the night operator, 34-year-old Leonard Posey, in a pool of blood in front of the service counter.
The cash register was standing open and his wallet had been emptied.
Posey had bled to death from several .22-caliber gunshot wounds to his head and chest.
In the days after the murder, detectives picked up several suspects. Several were cleared through lie detector tests and there was never enough evidence to make an arrest. Leads began to dry up.
“It was about 10 or 15 years later that we got more information on the case,” said Floyd County Police Maj. Tommy Shiflett. “But it never went anywhere.”
For those who may have information regarding the Lawson case, RPD Capt. Autry can be contacted at 706-238-5121. For those with information regarding the Posey case, FCPD Maj. Shiflett can be contacted at 706-235-7766.
Friday — Almost enough
Saturday — “Pressuring the wrong man”
Sunday — Family history