People holding Justice for Josiah signs stand at the corner of I Street and Fifth Street in Eureka on Wednesday evening, calling attention to David Josiah Lawson’s death. A vigil will be held Friday in front of the courthouse at 5:30 p.m. (Jose Quezada — for The Times-Standard)

A monthly vigil to remember David Josiah Lawson — the 19-year-old whose fatal stabbing in April 2017 remains unsolved — will take on a new meaning on Friday in the wake of a criminal grand jury declining to indict anyone in Lawson’s case.

Members of the Justice for Josiah Lawson Committee have held a vigil on the 15th of every month, each event bringing attention to the time that has elapsed since Lawson was fatally stabbed on April 15, 2017.

Friday’s vigil will mark 23 months since the Humboldt State University student died after attending a house party in Arcata.

Michelle-Charmaine Lawson (Times-Standard file)

With the grand jury’s decision, the Humboldt County District Attorney’s office announced it will not file charges against anyone in connection with Lawson’s stabbing death, but Arcata Police Chief Brian Ahearn told the Times-Standard on Wednesday that his department will continue to investigate the case.

In a statement released after the grand jury decision, the committee said it’s time for people who have “never shown up, but always wanted to,” to attend a vigil.

“Now more than ever we need your presence,” the statement reads. “If you are outraged, angered, saddened, numb, or disheartened by the recent grand jury decision, take these emotions and propel them into action with us.”

Members of the committee declined to comment beyond the statement.

The Arcata Police Department had turned the case over to the DA’s office in late October, about 18 months after Lawson died. But forensic evidence tied to the case wasn’t enough for the grand jury to indict anyone, Ahearn said Wednesday.

“People who are the least impacted by the news of the inability of the DA & APD to do their job, we need you, we need your energy and privilege,” the committee’s statement reads.

Michelle-Charmaine Lawson, mother of David Josiah Lawson, will attend Friday’s vigil, a committee member said. Although she lives permanently in Riverside, Michelle-Charmaine Lawson has often appeared publicly around Humboldt County calling for justice in her son’s killing.

“Charmaine Lawson is a testament to love, strength, and faith,” the committee’s statement reads. “Be motivated and empowered by her light. She will not only fight for justice for her son, but she is also fighting for justice in Humboldt County.”

Others who spoke to the Times-Standard following the DA’s announcement voiced their support for Michelle-Charmaine Lawson.

“She’s such an exceptional woman to keep coming back to this community and serving the way she does,” said Sharrone Blanck, president of Eureka’s local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. “I really felt despair for her and her family.”

Allison Edrington, a local organizer, said she’s interested to hear Michelle-Charmaine Lawson’s perspective on the community’s next step forward.

“I’m heartbroken,” Edrington said. “Our community needs to be supportive of Charmaine and her family.”

If you go

What: 23rd Month Vigil for David Josiah Lawson

When: Friday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Where: Humboldt County Superior Court, 825 Fifth Street, Eureka, California 95501

More information:

Shomik Mukherjee can be reached at 707-441-0504.

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