Man gets life for shooting death of girlfriend

Killed her in front of their kids



MILTON, Ga. – A Cumming resident was given life in jail without parole April 4 for the shooting death of his former girlfriend three years ago in Milton.

Christopher Erdman, 27, of Cumming pleaded guilty to murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, aggravated stalking, cruelty to children and weapons offenses for the murder of 25-year-old Shannon Lawrence, June 5, 2011.

Erdman and Lawrence, the estranged mother of his two children, 1 and 2 years old at the time, had organized to meet in the parking lot of the Birmingham Highway Wells Fargo Bank in Milton. They met to exchange custody of the children.

During their exchange, Erdman grew angry and pulled a gun, firing four shots at Lawrence. She was struck in the pelvis, lungs and twice in the back of the head while lying on the ground.

The episode happened in plain view of the couple’s young children.

After the shooting, Erdman put Lawrence’s body in the back of his truck, loaded the children inside and drove to his father’s home in Cumming. Erdman left his children at his parents’ house, and then both he and his father took Lawrence to Northside Hospital-Forsyth in Cumming.

He told police he shot her because she threatened him with a knife.

The state initially wanted to seek the death penalty for Erdman. However, they eventually accepted a plea deal at the request of the victim’s family.

“They have had a long, tumultuous relationship,” said Milton Police Spokesman Lt. Shawn McCarty at the time of the murder. “We have reports from Cherokee County where the sheriff’s office was called [for domestic violence]. It appears this has progressively gotten worse in the last six or eight months.”

Lawrence sought a temporary protective order against Erdman in Forsyth County. She said Erdman was acting aggressive and possessive of her after she left him, sending her hundreds of text messages and hounding family and friends. She ended the relationship following a report on Aug. 4, 2010, where Erdman allegedly struck their young daughter.

“At this point, I am very afraid of him,” wrote Lawrence in the Jan. 31 protective order request.

MH 04-23-14

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