No death penalty in Dawson murder
Ryan Harrison appeared in Denton County 158th District Court on Friday but has not yet entered a plea in connection with the death of Dawson, according to Jamie Beck, spokesperson for the Denton County Prosecutor's Office.
"We're still early in the proceedings," she said. "The only reason he would enter a plea at this point would be if a plea bargain were offered and he accepted it."
Beck said the state has responded to a request from Harrison's court-appointed attorneys by indicating it will not seek the death penalty.
That's even though Harrison was indicted for capital murder by a Denton County grand jury in connection with Dawson's death.
Harrison was arrested four days after the shooting by Lewisville police.
Capital murder, punishable by death under Texas state law, is applicable only under certain circumstances.
One of those circumstances is a murder occurring in the course of committing other specified offenses.
"A murder committed in the course of a robbery would qualify as a capital offense," Beck said.
According to the arrest report filed by the Lewisville Police Department, Dawson had told his girlfriend in Denton he was "to meet someone from Dallas to sell some marijuana."
Police contacted other Dawson acquaintances and found one who told investigators he gave Harrison's phone number to Dawson.
That man heard the next day that Dawson was missing and called Harrison, whose street name was "Cliff," to inquire how things went.
Police said Harrison reported he had "the weed and the money" but that things "went left" which was understood to mean "things didn't go right."
Police said a friend of Dawson's received a phone call from Harrison who said he had the money and the marijuana but when the friend asked about Dawson, Harrison hung up the phone.
The man who set up the trans- action identified Harrison from a photo lineup and an arrest warrant was issued.
Last cell call
The warrant was issued March 27, the same day Dawson's body was found. Harrison was arrested four days later in the 200 block of Creek Cove Drive, near Loop 12, in southeast Dallas.
Dawson's body was found in a white Chevrolet Tahoe, which had been a gift from his grandmother who lives in Rockdale.
Lewisville police said with the help of Texas Rangers records were obtained for Dawson's cell phone, which showed the last answered call was from Harrison and the location was the location where Dawson's body was found.
Dawson was a 2005 graduate of Rockdale High School, where he was all-state at linebacker and was also a standout running back.
At the University of North Texas he played linebacker and safety in 31 games, starting in 11.
He was a senior at UNT at the time of his death but was headed to Tarleton State as a player this fall, planning to apply for a medical red shirt season through the NCAA.