Man sentenced to life without parole for murder of Warren grandmother

Donna Lawrence found bludgeoned to death in her apartment

Anthony Iannotti
Anthony Iannotti

SHELBY TOWNSHIP, Mich. – A 34-year-old man was sentenced Tuesday in the murder of a 62-year-old grandmother in her Warren apartment.

Listen: 911 call from Shelby Township home which led to Warren murder suspect's arrest

Anthony Iannotti, 34, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in the killing of Dona Lawrence, who was found dead August 10, 2016, in her apartment right after Iannotti was released from jail.

Read: Police search Shelby Township neighborhood for Iannotti

He was charged with first-degree murder, felony homicide, unlawful driving away a motor vehicle and larceny from a building. He also faced lesser charges related to his disabling of his tether and violating the personal protection order against his estranged wife. 

Iannotti first was named as person of interest, then a murder suspect. A felony murder warrant was issued for him as a manhunt was well underway. 

Video: Iannotti arraigned on murder charges

Iannotti was taken into custody at the Spring Hill apartment complex after a suspected home invasion in Shelby Township. A woman and her child were in the home on Ryan Road when the suspect entered the home at about 9 a.m.

Terrified, the woman and her young son hid in an upstairs bathroom and called police describing a bald man in a tattered coat.

Police said Iannotti appeared to have been living in the woods over several days. Iannotti had shaved his head and his facial hair.

The home invader fled through 300 yards of heavy brush to the Spring Hill apartments, where an officer spotted him and ordered him to the ground. Despite the patchy shaved head and face, officers said they knew it was Iannotti as soon as they rolled him over. 

What happened

Lawrence was found murdered in her apartment August 10, 2016, bludgeoned to death in her apartment.

The apartment complex is on Schoenherr Road, between 13 Mile Road and Masonic Boulevard.

VideoArrest made in Warren grandmother's murder

Neighbors said they saw a man wearing a T-shirt and khaki shorts walk up to the complex and knock on Lawrence’s door calling her name. The neighbors saw her let him into the apartment.

Police were on the scene 30 minutes later.

Ex-wife fears for her safety

In a post to Facebook, Iannotti’s ex-wife, Cassie Hokanson, said that she is in hiding. She posted that Iannotti had broken into her house and that he is after her.

The post put police on the offensive. Warren Mayor Jim Fouts said that catching Iannotti was priority No. 1.

Hokanson also said Iannotti showed up where she was hiding with her family.

"My father fired twice to protect my family," she said.


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