Trial date set for man charged in music teacher's killing

Jury selection set to begin in November 2019

By Frank Powers - Assignment manager, Colette DuChanois - Web producer

Police say Adam Lawson killed Deborah Liles during a random home invasion burglary.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A trial date was set Monday for Adam Lawson, the 26-year-old ex-convict charged with first-degree murder in the March 2017 home invasion killing of beloved Jacksonville music teacher Deborah Liles.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin a year from now, on Nov. 4, 2019.

State Attorney Melissa Nelson plans to seek the death penalty for Lawson. 

Police said Deborah Liles, 62, was beaten to death inside her home in the Panama Park neighborhood March 23, 2017. The house was ransacked. Her car was gone.

Police found her stolen Buick LaCrosse two days later. It was ditched near Notter Avenue and Golfair Boulevard. Surveillance video led them to a mobile home park a few miles from the couple's home.

Based on that footage and a tip from a woman who spoke with Lawson after the killing, police searched the man's home. Inside, they said, they found a pair of shoes that had traces of blood on them.

Lawson, who was released from prison in 2016 after a six-year stint for burglary, was booked on charges of murder, armed burglary, grand theft auto and possession of a firearm by a felon.

Deborah Liles' husband, Michael Liles, took over as the executive director of the Justice Coalition, a victims advocate group, after her death. 

Michael Liles, 62, was found dead in his Panama Park home last month. He died of natural causes. 

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