‘Wrong place at wrong time’
Germaine Dawson, the former Rockdale High School football star who was shot to death March 27, 2009, in a botched Dallas area marijuana deal, was not viewed by investigators as a professional drug dealer.
That’s the opinion of Bill Schultz, Denton County felony chief prosecutor, who played a large role in the recent capital murder conviction of 20-year-old Ryan Harrison of Dallas.
Harrison received a life-without-parole sentence.
“Not excusing what he did, which of course, was against the law,” Schultz said. “But drug dealing was not Germaine’s occupation. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time with people he didn’t know.”
Dawson’s body was found in his SUV on an Interstate 35E service road in Lewisville. He died from a gunshot wound.
MIDDLE MAN— Schultz told The Reporter Dawson, 21, was actually doing a favor for a friend by agreeing to be the middle man in a marijuana transfer that went horribly wrong.
Evidence entered by the prosecution during the Harrison trial identified the friend who made the arrangements for the rendezvous.
“Yes, Germaine was going to make some money out of the deal,” Schultz said. “He made a mistake.”
Even as a go-between, Dawson’s actions revealed his unawareness of the serious situation he was in, investigators noted.
“He went alone and unarmed,” Schultz said. “He did not know the people he was going to meet.”
After his arrest, Harrison told investigators things “went left” during the transaction, a reference to the fatal shooting.
MORE THAN ONE— Schultz and investigators believe Dawson and Harrison were not the only ones at the scene. “We suspect Harrison and other participants were involved but only Harrison was charged with capital murder,” Schultz said.
Cell phone records, introduced by the prosecution at the Harrison trial, linked the suspected seller and buyer, Schultz said.
Defense attorneys challenged the constitutionality of admitting phone records, and other trial evidence, but the prosecution prevailed.
Schultz said Harrison’s life sentence does not include the possibility of parole, a topic of some confusion.
He said the Lewisville Police Department’s initial press release, used by media outlets, indicated Harrison would be eligible for parole in 40 years but that was never the case.
“That press release has now been corrected,” Schultz said.
‘DIDN’T DESERVE IT’— Schultz said the prosecution team was well aware of Dawson’s reputation in Rockdale and in Denton, where he played in 31 games for the University of North Texas football team, starting in 11.
Dawson, a 2005 RHS graduate, was remembered as a role model, an athlete who made time to work with children and who was welcomed, and loved, in homes all over town.
“We were aware of the kind of young man he was and how highly regarded he was in Rockdale,” Schultz said. “We knew that about 1,000 people attended his funeral and that he was remembered for his work with young people.”
Schultz believes it’s a story he, and others in law enforcement, have heard before.
“He grew up in a small town, with what was obviously a very loving and supportive grandmother,” Schultz said. “Then he comes up here to a big-city situation. And he just simply gets in with the wrong people.”
“There just wasn’t any good reason he should have ended up in that vehicle with those people under those circumstances,” Schultz said.
“He didn’t deserve what happened to him,” Schultz added. “Didn’t deserve it at all.”