Son takes stand

May 23, 2003 12:00 am

By AMY LINDBLOM

A Sonora man on trial for attempted murder has sat stoically through days of testimony — even when his own son was on the stand against him.

Wes Lawrence is accused of shooting up a neighbor's business — Ahearn's Towing — on March 4, 2002. George Ahearn's shop is on Mechanical Drive, about 300 yards from Lawrence's Longeway Road house.

Throughout the trial, which started May 15, Lawrence has sat quietly next to his lawyer, occasionally wiping his brow, writing a few notes and sipping water.

Jurors on Wednesday heard from Clinton Lawrence, the defendant's son, now a freshman at a Central Valley high school.

"Dad was angry," Clinton said. "He was angry about the dog."

Lawrence's charges stem from incidents that March day. Lawrence accused Ahearn of calling animal control to take away Lawrence's dog.

An animal control officer told the court last week that there had been several complaints about Lawrence's dog, Bear, running loose in the neighborhood, knocking over garbage cans.

Ahearn said he was not the one who called authorities, and, in fact, he liked the dog.

"Bear would come down and play with my dog," Ahearn testified last week. "If I gave a biscuit to my dog, I'd give one to Bear."

But Ahearn said that when Lawrence returned home on March 4, 2002, to find the dog gone and a citation on his door, he confronted Ahearn.

Ahearn said Lawrence told him he was "going to pay for this one."

About 8:30 that night, William Bourasa called 911 to say the shop had been shot up. Bourasa did odd jobs for Ahearn in exchange for being allowed to park and live in a motorhome on the property. He was lying on the office couch at the time of the shooting.

Tuolumne County Sheriff's investigators say Lawrence fired 11 bullets into Ahearn's business, putting holes in the shop and in several vehicles parked outside.