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Campus 'intruder' faces long prison term if convicted

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Posted: Tuesday, October 6, 2009 11:00 pm

The man who allegedly stormed through Kyrene de los Cerritos Elementary School last year on the first day of school faces multiple charges and the possibility of a long-term prison sentence because of previous convictions when he appears in Maricopa County Superior Court next week.

Larry Lawrence, 41, was charged with four counts of aggravated assault, plus resisting arrest and criminal damages after he allegedly rushed into the school looking for his wife just as school was about to let out on Aug. 4, 2008.

Police say that Principal Darcy DiCosmo tried to stop him and was pushed aside.

Not knowing what the man wanted, DiCosmo said that the only thing going through her mind at the time was keeping him away from the students.

“I just kept going after him,” DiCosmo said. “I was yelling to the parents, 'Grab your kids, there’s a man here.’”

Police caught up with Lawrence at his home in the 15800 block of South 10th Place, where an alleged altercation with officers started. Witnesses say that during the scuffle at least one officer was shocked with his own Taser when Lawrence allegedly became combative and wrestled the weapon away from the officer.

To provide better security in the future, Cerritos rearranged some classrooms and moved the offices to the front of the school during the summer.

Lawrence appears before judge Connie Contes in the Mesa court complex Oct. 13 for a status conference and possible change of plea.

Lawrence, who is out of custody on bail, was arrested in Yuma County on similar charges 10 years ago, according to court records. He also served time in the prison for aggravated assault as well as drug and paraphernalia possession and flight, according to the Arizona Department of Corrections.

Prosecutors have said they will use his previous convictions to enhance any possible sentence, so that instead of being eligible for parole, Lawrence could face as much as 28 years in prison if convicted.

 

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