Search for suspect continues manslaughter conviction disclosed

William Cecil Brandon Jr., a 49-year-old ex-convict wanted in Sunday night's slaying of a 13-year-old boy, remained at large yesterday.

It was also disclosed that Brandon, who was serving one year's probation for a drug possession charge, was convicted of manslaughter in December 1969.


That case arose out of an argument over a $1 bet in a dice game outside a tavern at Robert Street and Linden Avenue. During the trial,Brandon testified that as he pulled out his gun in self-defense, he tripped over a curb and the gun fired, killing Carnell Kearns. Brandon received an eight-year sentence.

Brandon is now charged with first-degree murder and a handgun violation in connection with the death of Rubin "Moe" Lawson, who was killed Sunday night after a dispute about children ringing the doorbell of Brandon's father. Police and witnesses said Brandon collared the 13-year-old in the first block of North Smallwood Street, pressed a large-caliber handgun to his chest, fired and then fled. Young Rubin, who lived in the 900 block of Edmondson Avenue, had been visiting his grandmother.


Police checked the homes of Brandon's relatives and closest friends yesterday. Brandon lived in the 600 block of North Brice Street, where neighbors described him as a "peacemaker" and leader of efforts to keep the block clean.

His father, William C. Brandon Sr., 68, said he hopes that his son will surrender to police and that no one else will be hurt.

"I'm just sitting around hoping and praying that if they catch him, they catch him like they did before and nobody will get hurt," he said, referring to the 1969 case. "I'd rather see him in jail than being shot up."

Services for Rubin Lawson, described by friends and family as a likable, good-natured child, are scheduled for Saturday at the

March Funeral Home on North Avenue.