Friends remember homicide victim


EAST RIDGE, Tenn. (WDEF) — The body of an East Ridge double homicide suspect was found this morning in Mississippi.

Friends remember one of the victims.

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“She was very sweet, very outgoing. She had a heart this big. She would do anything for anybody. She was very supportive. She never had anything negative to say about anything,” Erika Johnson said.

Johnson knew Vi Lawhorn very well. They met five years ago at Buds Sports Bar.
“When I first met her, I watched her. She was dressed so pretty when she walked in and I thought, ‘hey let’s go over there and meet that girl right there. She looks like a really sweet girl and we hit it off she had a huge heart,” Johnson said.

She saw her for the last time at Buds on Saturday night.

“She was smiling and we was laughing. We was talking about our beach trip coming up and the gala that is coming up in two weeks and about our dress,” Johnson said.

East Ridge Police say early Sunday morning Vi’s son Casey Lawhorn is suspected of killing his mother and a friend, 22-year-old Avery Gaines. Later that day a post showed up on Casey’s Facebook page detailing the killings. He confessed to the homicides and said he was on the side of I-59 in Mississippi.

The Jasper County Sheriff says the car Casey was in was found on Sunday night, but Casey was not there.

Police say on Monday morning Casey’s body was found in a wooded area in Jasper County. They say he died from what looks like a self inflicted gun shot wound.

“I don’t understand what happened. They wasn’t arguing or anything. She loved her son, both of her sons. She loved them unconditionally. She was a great mother,” Johnson said.