CARTHAGE, Mo. – A Lawrence County man originally charged with first-degree murder in a cold-case homicide has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for unlawful possession of a firearm.

Murder charges against Lawrence Timmons were dismissed in late 2021, but six counts of unlawful possession were levied against him in a separate case.

He was found guilty to the six counts after a bench trial in July, heard on a change of venue from Lawrence County to Jasper County, according to online court records.

He was sentenced Tuesday (11/8/22) to 10 years on each of the counts, but they are to be served concurrently, according to court records. He will be given credit for time served.

 Timmons was charged in 2019 in connection with the death of Cynthia Smith, last seen leaving a bar in Mount Vernon in late July of 1988. Her body was found in a rural Pierce City cemetery 10 days later.

Timmons’ defense attorney Adam Woody said in a news release after the murder charge was dismissed that the state had voluntarily taken that action after the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by a private investigation firm with new information.

Lawrence County Prosecutor Don Trotter confirmed the motion to dismiss, saying that his office has chosen to halt the prosecution because witnesses had died and new legislation that changes prerequisites for first-degree murder charges made prosecution untenable.

Court documents indicate Smith had left the Checkers bar in Mount Vernon on July 28, 1988, with an unidentified man and was not seen again. She left her children with a babysitter who reported her missing when she did not return home to her children, then ages 4 and 8.

At the time of his grand jury indictment in 2019, Timmons was in the Lawrence County Jail on unrelated charges. Those are the charges for which Timmons was found guilty and sentenced on Tuesday.