Bryan Steven Lawson & Beth ‘Chandra’ Lawson: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Bryan Steven Lawson and Beth Chandra Lawson

Tennessee Department of Corrections/christiansells obituary Bryan Steven Lawson and Beth Chandra Lawson.

The documentary series on A&E, Accused: Guilty or Innocent, explores a case from the perspective of the accused, including their defense, trial and verdict. As the network explains, it’s “an intimate account of what happens when someone is formally charged with a crime and sent to trial,” but from the perspective of the accused, their family and the defense team.

The series premiered on April 21, 2020, with the first episode, “Wife Killer or Self Defense?” The episode explored the case of Bryan Steven Lawson, who shot and killed his wife Beth “Chandra” Lawson on January 27, 2017. The entire incident was caught on cameras the couple had installed in their home, and there was no doubt that Lawson shot and killed his wife. What the episode, and the case, explored was whether it was murder or self-defense.

Here’s what you need to know about Bryan Steven Lawson and Beth “Chandra” Lawson:

1. Chandra Was Born on November 16, 1976, & Served in the Tennessee Army National Guard

Beth Chandra Lawson

Screengrab\christiansells.comBeth Chandra Lawson

Beth “Chandra” Lawson was born on November 16, 1976, in Church Hill to parents Avery Ann Charles Williams and Gwen Ethridge. According to her obituary, she had a brother, Clay Williams and two stepsisters, Rachel Morgan and Rebekah Ethridge. Chandra graduated from Christian Life Academy and went to East Tennessee State University and Lincoln Memorial University.

Chandra served in the Tennessee Army National Guard from 2006 to 2012. In the docu-series, the producers explained that she was unable to deploy on military tours because she broke her neck during training. Her obituary explained that after her death, she received military honors from the Tennessee Army National Guard and the Hawkins County Color Guard.

2. Chandra Had 2 Sons, Liam & Bradyn, From 2 Different Relationships

Beth Chandra Lawson

Screengrab\christiansells.comBeth Chandra Lawson

Chandra had two sons, Liam Windham and Bradyn Lawson, from two relationships. Liam was 17 at the time of Chandra’s death and Bradyn was just over two years old. Liam is Chandra’s son from a prior relationship, whereas Bradyn was born when Bryan and Chandra were together. The episode explored that after the shooting, Bryan found out that Bradyn wasn’t his biological son.

Both children were living with the couple at the time of Chandra’s death, although Liam had left for school before the shooting happened. The video footage of the shooting shows that Bradyn was right beside his mother when Bryan shot her three times with a handgun.

According to a Tennessee news site, in 2019 Liam was a college student and the 4-year-old Bradyn was the subject of a custody battle. His time was shared between Chandra’s mother and his biological father, who is not named. It’s unclear at this time who has custody over the young boy.

3. The Entire Sequence of Events Was Captured on Video Surveillance

The Lawsons had installed video cameras throughout their home, which meant that the shooting was entirely captured on video. It showed not only the moment when Bryan shot his wife three times with their son standing there, but it also showed a domestic dispute in the hour before the shooting.

During the dispute, which was shown in full during the Accused: Guilty or Innocent? episode, Chandra was seen grabbing a baseball bat and threatening Bryan with it multiple times. Viewers could also see her striking him many times with her hand. Bryan retrieved the handgun from behind the couch when Chandra left the room for a few minutes to get their son.

4. Bryan Is Serving His Sentence at the Hardeman County Correctional Facility

Hardeman County Correctional Facility

Tennessee Department of CorrectionHardeman County Correctional Facility

Bryan Steven Lawson was born on July 5, 1983. According to his Tennessee inmate record, he is 6’3″ and weighs 375 pounds. His status is listed as incarcerated at the Hardeman County Correctional Facility under a minimum restricted supervision level. The prison is a privately owned facility for men in Whiteville, Tennessee, east of Memphis. The facility opened in 1997 and has a capacity of 1,976 inmates, according to the Tennessee Department of Corrections.

He was sentenced to 15 years beginning on January 27, 2019, ending on March 28, 2033. He will have a parole hearing in March 2023. The offense listed is Voluntary Manslaughter.

5. Bryan Pleaded Guilty on February 1, 2019, Instead of Going to Trial

Bryan decided to take a plea deal instead of going to trial for the case. If he had gone to trial, he could have been convicted of first-degree murder and faced life in prison without parole, Times News explained.

The plea deal agreed by both parties was that Bryan would plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter with 15 years sentence, a longer sentence than usual for a first-time offender. Instead, the prosecution and the defense agreed that he would be eligible for parole after serving 20 percent of his sentence instead of the usual 30 percent.

He also pleaded guilty to felony reckless endangerment because of the proximity of the shooting to the couple’s two-year-old son. Chandra’s other son, Windham, told the Times News that he’s forgiven Lawson, but many in his family have not. He said, “When he is released, he will have to live with that and live with the guilt for the rest of his life. I think that’s punishment enough.”

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1 year ago

I just watched that episode and I cried. She didn’t only hit him with her hand, she hit him with the baseball bat. Too bad there wasn’t audio on that camera system so she can be heard saying how she was gonna kill herself and take the baby with her. The defense was trying to withhold evidence from the surveillance footage of her shooting up multiple times a day saying that it was irrelevant to his defense ONLY voluntarily handing over the 45 minutes worth of footage prior to the shooting. That day she hadn’t had her fix, and was the reason for her rage because nowhere on the surveillance for that day’s worth of footage did she “get well”.
The prosecutor also argued that it would be a waste of taxpayer money to hand over the entirety of the hard drive. *eyeroll* (also the 45 minutes they did give to the defense was unplayable as it didn’t have a file extension.) I’m sorry but that was some b***s*** maneuvering on the prosecutor’s part to not allow a man to defend himself and they had to go before a judge to acquire what would effectively have proven his case. They knew what they had and that’s some shady s***.
Ultimately, Lawson chose to take the plea deal because he loved his wife despite her problems, and even moreso he loved his son (DNA or no) and he didn’t want to drag her through the mud because that would embarrass his wife’s family. I will repeat that. He didn’t defend his right to self-defense and the defense of his baby boy who was unable to defend himself against chandra who was saying she was going to kill herself and him because she was pissed off at not having any junk that day, so he took the plea deal thus denying himself a jury trial in court because it would EMBARRASS his wife’s family. Sorry, but F**^ THAT. He’s absolutley a bigger person for taking the bulk of the heat in the name of preserving his relationship with his sons. My heart breaks for him.
Hopefully he paroles at the 3 year mark as he was told, and the family doesn’t pull some nonsense, like the tracking down of the deadbeat dna dad wasn’t enough, nor the… extortion? (basically saying that if he didn’t take the deal, he’d never have contact with the little boy ever again) and show up to the parole hearings protesting his release. I wouldn’t put it past them. I’m sorry for their loss, but they knew she had major problems. I mean, they knew she was cheating and the kid wasn’t Bryan’s FFS.

Jackie Cartwright
Jackie Cartwright
1 year ago
Reply to  fckoffndyeit

I’m confused. If he didn’t want to drag her the mud and piss off the family, then why go on national television? I think he is 100% innocent and wish he had gone to trial. I have bipolar and was an addict, but I would never ever ever ever have threatened my son’s life or jeopardized my own freedom by beating the heck out of someone on a regular basis. I would never want to go to jail or prison for assault because I would never want my child to be without me. She was a bad person, and she was 5 yrs older than him so she is even more accountable for her actions. She was beautiful and he loved her, she knew she could get away with whatever she wanted and he’d stay with her.