Anthony Iannotti sent to prison for life for murdering Warren grandmother

- A man convicted of brutally killing a Warren grandmother and strangling his wife was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without parole.

Anthony Iannotti, 35, was convicted of second-degree murder and felony murder for the death of Dona Lawrence last August at her home. Macomb Circuit Court Judge Diane Druzinski sentenced him 40 years in prison for second-degree murder and life in prison without parole for the felony murder charge.

Police say on Aug. 10,  a family member posted bond and Iannotti was let out of jail for allegedly strangling his 21-year-old-wife. He was given a tether and banned from contacting her. However, after his release Iannotti cut his tether and went to his wife's home. When he was unable to find her, he went to Lawrence's apartment at Williamsburg East Apartments on Schoenherr Road near Masonic Boulevard.

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According to police, he stabbed her 120 times, stole about $400-$500, and fled in her 2000 Daewoo station wagon. The vehicle was found abandoned in a parking lot in Royal Oak Township a few days later. A six-day manhunt ensued, and Iannotti was reported to have approached his in-laws house, where his wife was hiding. Her father pulled out a gun and fired a few shots at him, and Iannotti disappeared into nearby woods unharmed.

He was finally caught after breaking into a home in Shelby Township. After spotting him in the house, the homeowner hid in the bathroom with her 2-year-old son and called police. By the time officers showed up, Iannotti had escaped to a wooded area. Police found him hiding in a clubhouse in a nearby apartment complex. He had shaved his head and face, but officers identified him based on his bite.

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For breaking into the woman's home, Iannotti was charged with first-degree home invasion, burglary and possession of burglary tools. For trying to break into his estranged wife's Warren home, he was charged with third-degree home invasion and tampering with an electronic device for removing a tether.

For the crimes listed above, Druzinski issued the following sentences:

  • Assault by strangulation - 25 years
  • Home invasion - 20 years
  • Breaking and entering - 12 years
  • Possessing burglary tools - 12 years
  • Home invasion - 6 years
  • Tampering with a tether - 3 years
  • Second-degree murder - 40 years
  • Felony murder - mandatory life without parole
  • Unlawfully driving away an automobile - 12 years
  • Larceny in a building - 3 years

"That monster will die in prison," Lawrence's daughter said after the sentencing. "Today we are going to celebrate. We are going home all these people around here ... and we are going to have a toast for mama. And that's about it and then tomorrow, it's a new day."

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Iannotti has 42 days to appeal and Lawrence's daughter said she expects him to - but believes there's enough evidence against him to keep him behind bars.

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