Casey Lawhorn, a 23-year-old Tennessee man, is accused of murdering his mother and friend and then posting a graphic, lengthy description of the homicides in a Facebook post.
Lawhorn then went on the run, according to authorities in Tennessee. His vehicle was located abandoned in Jasper County, Mississippi. His body was later found near Vossburg, Mississippi, WTVC-TV reports. He is believed to have died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said.
His mother, Vi Lawhorn, and his friend, Avery Gaines, 22, of Georgia, were both found shot to death Sunday morning inside a home in East Ridge, Tennessee.
Be forewarned that Lawhorn’s alleged writings, which you can read below, are very disturbing. Lawhorn had also previously posted about mass shootings on Facebook, including a tribute to the Orlando shooting victims at the Pulse nightclub.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Lawhorn Allegedly Wrote That His Mother Started ‘Screaming the Worst Scream I’ve Ever Heard’
The lengthy Facebook message posted to Lawhorn’s site has now been deleted, although the Facebook page is still up. It’s a chilling and graphic description of the murders.
The Times Free Press reported that authorities have not yet confirmed that the narrative Lawhorn allegedly posted on Facebook fits the actual sequence of events. However, the message was very long and detailed.
“Since so many people keep ttrying to reach out to me on Facebook, I figure I can just say my piece once here and be done with it. Before I start, I need to emphasize that I take full responsibility for my actions. Nothing anyone has or hasn’t done to me caused this, my decisions and my failures are my own,” the Facebook post reads.
The message then contained the chilling header, “Technical Details,” continuing, “This morning, at around 01:30, I shot and killed my mother (Vi Lawhorn) and a close friend of mine (Avery Gaines) with a stolen .22 LR. Avery was staying the night to go with me to Epikos Hixson tonight to play MtG like we usually do. He fell asleep on my living room floor at around 00:30, the same time I went to pick my mom up from Buds Sports Bar on Brainerd Road. My mom was completely wasted, and just like every other time she gets drunk, she goes on and on, without prompt, about how devastated she’d be if I killed myself.”
The message continued: “Once I got her back to our house I went to my room and grabbed the gun. I nervously paced for a few minutes, playing the coming events out in my head, which were vastly different from what actually happened. I walked up to Avery as he slept and shot him in the head once, he seemed to die instantly. My mom was in her room, disoriented from alcohol, barely registered that anything happened. I attempted to shoot her in her bed right then, but the gun jammed. She didn’t notice what I just attempted. I left the room and fixed the jam. When I went back into her room, she was out of bed trying to calm down her dog, Oscar. I rapidly got off 2 shots, but I missed anything vital since there weren’t any lights on in her room. I saw 1 entry wound in her left arm, I’m not sure where the other one went. She started screaming the worst scream I’ve ever heard. Movies really don’t do justice to how true terror sounds. The gun jammed up again, so I scrambled to get it fixed.”
The Facebook post is alleged to have continued: “I had hoped both were going to be quick and efficient. I didn’t want my mom to suffer, to die in horror, to die with the knowledge that her son did it. She shouted ‘You shot me! You’ve killed me! Why?’ Once I got the jam fixed, I turned on the light so I wouldn’t miss again. I shot at her twice more and it was over. I went back into the living room to take the heroin and cash Avery had on him. The whole in his forehead was so small, and not a lot of blood had come out of it. However, thick, dark blood was pouring from his nose and bile came out of his mouth. I was shaking from adrenaline, but I felt nothing other than that, except maybe disgust at the corpse in front of me and the noises it was making. I reached into his pocket to get out his wallet, grabbed what i wanted, and left the house. The whole event took probably 3 or 4 minutes. I had hoped both were going to be quick and efficient. I didn’t want my mom to suffer, to die in horror, to die with the knowledge that her son did it (I didn’t hurt our dog or cat, in case anyone was wondering about the animals).”
2. Lawhorn Had Written on Facebook That He Planned to Kill Himself
The Jasper County, Mississippi, Sheriff said in a news conference that authorities were notified about a vehicle that was wanted from Tennessee – Lawhorn’s vehicle – and found it in their county. The sheriff said it took awhile to make sure that the suspect was not in it. He was not. “No telling,” the sheriff said on the evening of April 8, 2018, when asked where Lawhorn was. “…We really have no idea.”
At 9:40 a.m. Monday, the sheriff’s department posted on Facebook, “According to Jasper County Sheriff Randy Johnson, a body has been found in the Vossburg, MS area. It is believed to be the body of TN murder suspect, Casey Lawhorn. More details to come.”
Further details, including where the body was found, have not been released yet.
The highway patrol checked had previously checked the interstate and wooded area. “We really don’t know where he is at this moment,” the sheriff said on Sunday night. “He’s accused of a double homicide…we are going to assume he’s armed and dangerous.”
In an earlier Facebook post, the sheriff’s department wrote, “Casey James Lawhorn’s vehicle has been found on I59 near the Vossburg exit in Jasper County. Lawhorn is wanted in Tennessee for a double homicide. Lawhorn was not in the vehicle but is still presumed to be in Jasper County. Jasper County Sheriff’s Department, MHP, MBI. Jones County Sheriff’s Department are all on scene. Lawhorn is armed and considered very dangerous. Please DO NOT approach but contact the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department 601-764-2588.”
According to WTVA, Lawhorn was previously spotted “at a convenience store in Heidelburg around 4 p.m. Sunday.”
The lengthy Facebook message allegedly described how Lawhorn wants to kill himself. He allegedly continued in the post that he wanted to kill himself, writing, “People keep saying that suicide isn’t worth it, that it isn’t too late, that I should turn myself in instead. Well, friends, it is too late. Has been for more than 12 hours now, not to mention I’ve been suicidal since late high school. And it’s my opinion that I’ve been heading to unavoidable tragedy since I started at MTSU (Middle Tennessee State University). I’m not saying the university made me do it, but that the chain of events that I initiated by going there led me here, to inevitable suicide. Let’s think critically for a minute. Ignoring everything about why I hate myself and why I’m suicidal from before midnight this morning, just looking at today’s events, how should I be expected to not kill myself? Surely any normal person would wish death on themselves after doing what I did, seeing what I saw, and hearing what I heard. And all that’s waiting on me is life in prison, or maybe the death penalty. If I would get the death penalty, then I should definitely kill myself, otherwise I’m just wasting tax dollars on lengthy legal processes.”
He also allegedly wrote that he had been thinking about murder: “I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about murder, wondering what it feels like. But I’ve barely felt anything. Even without being executed, just wasting away in prison sounds awful, and also a horrible use of state money. And who would look forward to life in prison? I’m almost 24, that’s a crazy amount of time behind bars. And it wound be so lonely. I’m sure most of my friends would want to visit me at least once, if for no other reason than to try to understand what I did. But after that first year, I can’t imagine I’d have any weekly visitors. Not even family, or perhaps especially not family. I’m not trying to say people don’t care about me, I know a lot of you do, it’s just that people in general don’t keep up a habit of going to visit a friend in prison. Life carries on for everyone else. And the sooner this is all over, then the sooner everyone can move on. If I’m dead by the time you are reading this, you can heal faster than if I’m still around and in court, and in prison.”
3. Vi Lawhorn Was Remembered as a ‘Sweetheart’ Who Was ‘Nice & Cordial’
On Facebook, Vi Lawhorn presented an optimistic demeanor, and she sometimes commented on her son’s Facebook posts. In 2017, Vi Lawhorn wrote on Facebook, “It’s been a long time since I’ve been this happy 😊! Thank you God! Blessing me with an amazing man(Wes) that makes me smile every day!” In February, she posted a photo and wrote, “…it was taken by my son who is in Russia, he went on a school trip for 4weeks he’ll be home Sunday:) can’t wait to see all his pictures…” It wasn’t clear if that was a reference to Casey, though.
People have now filled the comment thread with statements of grief, such as, “rest in heaven sweet angel.”
A neighbor described Vi Lawhorn to the Times Free Press as “a sweetheart, nice, cordial.”
4. Lawhorn Wrote About Past Shootings on Facebook & Said He Once Worked for Amazon
On Facebook, Casey James Lawhorn described himself as “Former Operations Administrator at Amazon” who “Studied at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU)” and “Went to OHS.” He wrote that he lived and was from Chattanooga, Tennessee.
He appeared interested in comics, cartoons and videogames, based on his Facebook page. For example, he recently shared a post for the event for “Midnight Release at Epikos in Hixson for the new set of Magic the Gathering, Masters 25.” He also wrote, “I’ve waited for 18 episodes and over 3 years for Rick & Morty to bring back an amazing plot point; it did not disappoint. Tales from the Citadel is the best episode of season 3 so far.”
Lawhorn wrote about anime: “I just rewatched the Death Note anime, it was even better than I remembered, but maybe that’s bc of the DBE level trash Netflix put out just made the original seem even better.”
He shared posts from a Tennessee group of moms working for social justice, including a positive post on a transgender candidate making political history in Virginia.
He also shared an old post he wrote about gun control after shootings in America. He also shared a photo with the words “we are all Orlando” under it.
He wrote that he left his job at Amazon in October 2017, prompting his mother to write on that Facebook announcement, “You know for the tears on this message.” Lawhorn also wrote about donating money for Hurricane Harvey relief, writing, “I had $1 left on my paycard after getting direct deposit set up so I donated that dollar to Harvey relief. So either I’m better than everyone else for donating to charity or I’m worse bc wtf does a dollar even do, buy some NowandLaters for someone who almost drowned?”
5. One Neighbor Said Lawhorn Gave Him ‘The Creeps’
Although neighbors told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that they liked Vi Lawhorn, they didn’t have as positive of comments to say about Casey.
“He gave me the creeps,” one neighbor told the newspaper. Another labeled the suspect “introverted.” Casey Lawhorn reported the murders to the police himself, and neighbors expressed shock to the local newspaper.