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Cold case: Who killed Canton father Kenny Lawrence 10 years ago?

Kenny Lawrence Canton homicide
Posted at 6:14 PM, Sep 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-17 18:27:27-04

CANTON, Ohio — A Stark County family, desperate for answers and justice, is hoping a cold case will heat up.

Sept. 4 marked 10 years since 41-year-old Kenny Lawrence was shot and killed while walking in his Canton neighborhood. No one has been charged with the crime.

Loved ones remember Kenny as lively, funny and the kind of guy who lit up a room.

One of Kenny's daughter, Gabriella Lawrence, was 12-years-old when her dad was killed.

"It took me a while honestly though to realize what actually happened because at a young age, I did not want to deal with it. I did not want to think about it," she said. "They're a pretty messed up individual to be able to sleep every night knowing they killed somebody's father."

On her right arm, Gabriella, who is now 22-years-old, has tattoos with with the words "I love you daddy" in her father's handwriting.

Another tattoo shows a rose that's red at the top and black at the bottom.

"It symbolizes how quickly something can die," she said.

Over Labor Day weekend in 2011, Kenny was planning to host a cookout at his home on Woodland Avenue NW.

Family members say he visited a neighbor on 13th Street NW, just east of Cleveland Avenue, but as he walked back towards his home, he was accosted by three men and shot. Relatives believe it was a random robbery attempt.

Ken Carter, who lived with the victim, performed CPR on his close friend, but he died a short time later in a Canton hospital.

"It's just something you never want to do for really anybody, but particularly a good, close friend like that," Carter said.

Carter said making the case even more tragic, Kenny's girlfriend was pregnant with a girl at the time of his death. That child is now 9-years-old.

"He never met his baby," Carter said. "I'd like this to come to the surface and find out what really happened."

Witnesses believe one of the attackers was hurt, possibly as Kenny tried to defend himself.

Kenny's best friend, Christian Harwell, is convinced the killer will be identified one day and hopes police don't give up on the investigation.

"I believe the police do know what happened. They know who did it. It's just a matter of the goods to convict," Harwell said. "Not a day goes by that I don't think of him."

Canton Police Lt. Dennis Garren said the case is "being actively investigated", but detective are not making any further comment.

Gabriella is urging anyone with details on the homicide to come forward and help bring justice to her family a decade later.

"Somebody at this point, somebody needs to do something. No one did before and I'd really hope that somebody stands up and does something now about it," Gabriella said.

Anyone with information on the homicide is asked to call Canton police at 330-489-3144.