Long Island mother, son found guilty of gunning down Far Rockaway man in 2020: DA

Far Rockaway
A Long Island mother and son pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a Far Rockaway man in a dispute over money in 2020. (File photo by Lloyd Mitchell)

A Long Island mother and son are each facing more than two decades in prison for a fatal shooting in Far Rockaway in 2020, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced Wednesday. Katz called the Valley Stream residents “diabolical” for killing an unarmed man in a dispute over a paltry sum of money.

Avita Campbell, 40, of Hook Creek Boulevard, and her son, Raymond Jackson, 24, who lives in the same home, pleaded guilty on May 16 before Queens Supreme Court Justice Ushir Pandit-Durant to manslaughter in the first-degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. Campbell also pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of personal identification in the second degree.

According to the charges, on Sept. 23, 2020, the victim, Lasaaun Lawrence of Far Rockaway, went to Valley Stream to the defendants’ home looking to recoup money he believed Jackson owed him for a car repair. Jackson and Lawrence had a physical altercation.

Later that day, at approximately 5:40 p.m., Campbell and Jackson were seen on video surveillance getting out of a white BMW on Beach 31st Street near Seagirt Avenue in Far Rockaway.

Both were armed – Campbell holding a metal pipe and Jackson carrying a handgun. The victim was in a double-parked car at the location.
As the mother and son approached the victim’s car, Jackson raised his arm, aimed and fired at Lawrence. About a dozen shots rang out with multiple bullets hitting Lawrence.

After Jackson stopped shooting, his mother slammed the windshield of Lawrence’s car with the pipe she was carrying, causing the glass to shatter.

Jackson and Campbell got back into the BMW and fled the scene. Police from the 101st Precinct in Far Rockaway arrived and found Lawrence lying on the roadway with two gunshot wounds. EMS responded to the crime scene and rushed Larence to St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

On October 2, 2020, Campbell was driving the same white BMW when police pulled her over for a traffic stop. Cops executed a court-authorized search warrant and found a loaded silver and black handgun and two magazines inside a book bag. At the time of arrest, defendant Campbell was in possession of $10,000 in cash and a notebook and spreadsheet with hundreds of names, addresses and social security numbers which she intended to use for the purpose of fraud, prosecutors said.

Ballistics tests performed on the recovered gun by the NYPD’s Firearms Section revealed it was a match for the gun used to kill Lawrence. Jackson was apprehended in Florida in December 2020 and transported back to Queens.

“This diabolical mother and son duo teamed up to execute a man in a dispute over a relatively small sum of money,” Katz said. “They are going to prison for a long time for a killing that was as senseless as it was brutal.”

Justice Pandit-Durant Pandit-Durant indicated that on June 5 she will sentence Jackson and Campbell to 24 years in prison and 22 years in prison, respectively. The mother and son will also be sentenced to five years of post-release supervision.