I grew up in Southern California. My family and I moved to Huntsville in 2000. My wife teaches high school. We have two sons, my younger son is a senior at Grissom High School. I’ve worked in newspapers for the past 23 years, as a reporter and editor. I’m still new to the TV news business, but WHNT is a great place to learn, filled with smart, dedicated people. I look forward to breaking news and telling great stories that make a difference in people’s lives. If you’ve got a news tip, a comment or a suggestion on what we can do better, I can be reached at brian.lawson@whnt.com


Recent Articles
  • Jury selection underway for Huntsville man charged with killing 20-month-old daughter

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The first day of jury selection began Monday for Lionel Francis, who is charged with capital murder. Francis, 37, formally pleaded not guilty this morning. This week will decide his future. He’s charged with shooting his daughter, 20-month-old Alexandria Francis, at their home on Lockwood Court in May 2016. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, but the first step is picking a jury. Nearly 80 potential jurors were brought into court Monday morning. The jury was given […]

  • Lionel Francis set to go on trial Monday in the fatal shooting of 20-month-old daughter

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — A Huntsville man is set to go on trial Monday for capital murder in the May 2016 killing of his 20-month-old daughter. Lionel Francis and Ashley Ross were the parents of Alexandria Francis. Ashley Ross told WHNT News 19 after the shooting that Lionel Francis was never abusive to her or their daughter. Madison County Assistant District Attorney Tim Douthit said that during Francis’ preliminary hearing police investigators found the shooting followed an argument between the couple […]

  • How are Alabama’s kids doing? Special report, ‘Alone’ finds thousands of older kids lacking permanent home

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. —  WHNT News 19’s special report, “Alone” takes a closer look at the problem facing thousands of kids in Alabama, a lack of a permanent home. It’s the beginning of a reporting effort to better understand how Alabama’s kids are doing, what needs to be done better and how to help. Here’s some of what we learned while reporting “Alone” The problem More than 6,000 kids in state care and only 1,500 foster families in Alabama. “In my […]

  • TVA asks judge to dismiss lawsuit over failed sale of Bellefonte Nuclear plant

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The dispute over who is to blame for the failed sale of TVA’s  Bellefonte Nuclear Plant went before a federal judge in Huntsville Monday. Nuclear Development LLC sued the Tennessee Valley Authority Nov. 30, the same day the utility decided to pull out of the $111 million sale. TVA was in court Monday arguing the lawsuit should be thrown out. Attorneys for TVA argued Chattanooga-based Nuclear Development LLC failed to obtain construction permits for the plant from […]

  • Appeals court denies Huntsville Police officer’s request to have murder charge thrown out

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals has denied a Huntsville police officer’s request to overturn a lower court ruling that found he did not act in self-defense when he killed a Huntsville man in April 2018, court records show. The ruling, which would have ended the case if the court had sided with the defense, may clear the way for the scheduling of a murder trial for officer William Darby. The defense also seems to have the […]

  • Political analyst: Courts have given Congress wide latitude in prior disputes over subpoenas, investigations

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – A showdown is looming in Washington between the Trump Administration and House Democrats over committee efforts to gain access to records and witnesses connected to the White House on a range of subjects, including  President Trump’s tax returns and a complete copy of the Mueller report. Trump has made his position clear. “We’re fighting all the subpoenas,” he told reporters last week. But WHNT News 19 political analyst Jess Brown said the founders gave Congress substantial power […]

  • U.S. Sen. Doug Jones says failure of Congress to approve disaster relief shows dysfunction

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The U.S. Senate did not pass a $13.6 billion disaster relief bill before adjourning in early April for spring break. Now, Congress is back in session, but the spending measure still hasn’t been approved and Alabama U.S. Sen. Doug Jones is angry about the lack of progress. Jones, a Democrat joined a handful of his Republican colleagues — Senators David Perdue of Georgia, Rick Scott of Florida, Johnny Isakson of Georgia and Thom Tillis of North Carolina […]

  • Huntsville police officer facing murder charge wants appeals court to overrule Madison County judge

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The murder case involving a Huntsville police officer is on hold while an Alabama appeals court considers his claim of self-defense. Officer William Darby has argued he was acting in self-defense and protecting fellow officers when he shot the apparently suicidal Jeffrey Parker in April 2018 at Parker’s home on Deramus Avenue. Darby’s attorneys filed a petition with the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals arguing Madison County Circuit Judge Donna Pate erred in ruling that Darby was […]

  • Sponsors of Alabama abortion ban bill hoping for landmark court victory

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The sponsor of the bill that would create the most restrictive abortion law in the country – on the floor of the Alabama House Tuesday – wants it set the stage for a court challenge to the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the U.S. Alabama Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, says it’s time for Roe to be overturned. Her bill would make it a felony for anyone to perform an abortion in Alabama. There […]

  • Speaker Mac McCutcheon says lottery will be a ‘priority bill’ in Alabama House

    The Alabama Senate narrowly approved a lottery bill Thursday. It now moves to the Alabama House of Representatives. House Speaker Mac McCutcheon says the House is ready. “It will be a priority in the House for sure,” said McCutcheon, R-Monrovia. “This time the bill that has come from the Senate is what we call a clean lottery bill.” A lottery bill hung up in 2016 over the definition of a lottery. This time it’s different, McCutcheon said. “It doesn’t include other […]

  • Senator Doug Jones says he is focused on job, will let GOP candidates fight it out

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Alabama U.S. Senator Doug Jones’ win in the 2017 special Senate election over Republican Roy Moore was an upset. A poll released last week found GOP voters are ready for a rematch, with Moore as the favored choice. Jones said his focus is elsewhere. “I don’t have any thoughts on running against anybody,” said Jones “I’m just doing my job. I’m out there doing the things I said I would do.” Last week’s Mason-Dixon poll provided an […]

  • U.S. Attorney Jay Town confident Alabama prison problems can be addressed without federal lawsuit

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The U.S. Department of Justice report on Alabama’s prison system that found apparent violations of the constitutional ban on “cruel and unusual punishment” does not mean a lawsuit by the federal government is imminent, U.S. Attorney Jay Town told WHNT News 19. Town, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, is helping coordinate a response between Washington, D.C., and Montgomery on finding remedies for a system that the DOJ report – issued April 2—found Alabama “does […]

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