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Quinton S. Lewis

Quinton S. Lewis

Parolee arrested in man's April slaying

Charles V. Lawrence had served 14 years for a woman's 1995 killing.

March 2, 2011
By Ellie Bogue
of The News-Sentinel

A Fort Wayne parolee convicted of shooting a woman nine times in 1995 was in court Tuesday for the first day of his trial in the April killing of a 29-year-old city man.

Charles V. Lawrence, 35, watched as the jury was selected for the trial in the April 24 slaying of Quinton S. Lewis in a Kekionga Drive apartment building. Lawrence, released from state prison in February 2010 after serving 14 years of a 30-year sentence for a 1996 attempted-murder conviction, is being tried on charges of murder and possession of a firearm by a violent felon.

Lewis was gunned down at 2 a.m. in an apartment building at 4320 Kekionga Drive, in the Indian Village Garden Apartments complex off Engle Road. Police found him lying in the hallway, and medics pronounced him dead at the scene.

Police were called at 10 p.m. April 23 for a reported domestic violence, when Lawrence's sister, Tekella Lawrence, said Lewis – who lived with her – had battered her before leaving in her car with her cell phone, a probable-cause affidavit said.

According to testimony Tuesday, Tekella Lawrence said she had been involved with Lewis for 11 years.

According to her, the two had argued over her plans to go out for the evening, and Lewis hit her in the mouth with a liquor bottle.

According to Deputy Prosecutor Steve Godfrey, police records show it wasn't the first time the two had fought.

In addition to calling 911, Tekella Lawrence contacted her sister Louise and brother Charles, who along with several other friends went to Tekella's apartment.

According to testimony from Louise and Tekella, the visitors stayed about 20 minutes and left.

Charles Lawrence stayed about five minutes longer. Louise told the court that her brother didn't seem angry over the incident.

Godfrey pointed out that police records said when Tekella was questioned about the events of the night, shortly after they happened, she had said her brother had stayed with her to protect her. Louise Lawrence and Charles' fiancée, now wife, Sanya Perry Lawrence, both denied this in their testimony.

While Louise Lawrence and friends headed out to a club, Sanya Perry Lawrence testified she and Lawrence went to the Burger King on Bluffton Road, where they argued. He got out of the car on Bluffton Road and she returned to their apartment on Fairfield Avenue.

She couldn't sleep, but after 10 minutes, Lawrence called her and said he would be home shortly and apologized for their earlier disagreement.

Godfrey questioned this in court, and pointed out to Sanya Perry Lawrence that according to police records, shortly after the shooting she had said Lawrence was with her all night.

Tekella Lawrence testified that after people left her apartment she smoked marijuana and took two Vicodin.

She said she awoke to hear a popping noise that sounded like fireworks. She moved from the bedroom to the living room, where she noticed the door to her apartment was slightly cracked open; she closed the door. She lay down on the couch, and when she awoke it was to the knock of the Fort Wayne Police Department.

UPDATE

April 11, 2011

A 36-year-old Fort Wayne man convicted of murder for the fatal shooting of his sister’s boyfriend was sentenced Monday to 90 years in prison.

Charles V. Lawrence Sr. maintained his innocence in the death of Quinton Lewis and said he plans to appeal his conviction.

Lawrence, who was on parole for attempted murder at the time of Lewis’ death, was convicted by a jury early last month.

The murder case was built largely on earlier statements by Lawrence’s siblings to police, which put him inside his sister’s apartment at the time Lewis was shot in the face with a .45-caliber pistol.

But prosecutors battled those same witnesses’ subsequent stories from the witness stand, all putting Lawrence somewhere else at the time, even at different places at the same time. At varying times Lawrence’s sisters said he was with them, or not with them, and his wife said he was with her, and then not with her.

Prosecutors played a portion of interviews his sisters had given police, and Lewis’ girlfriend – Lawrence’s sister – said Lawrence promised to stay with her that night.

On the stand during the trial, that sister, Tekella Lawrence, said her brother left her apartment after he, another sister, his then-fiancée and another friend came over to check on her after Lewis battered her in the face.

Lewis, 29, left with her keys, cell phone and car and when he returned early the next morning, someone fired a gun as he opened the door, shooting him in the face. The shooter then followed him down the stairs and shot him in the top of the head, killing him, according to testimony.

The gun used was later found in a wooded area at Kekionga Middle School by a group of students out on a nature walk with their teacher.

Defense attorney Donald Swanson argued during the trial that there was no physical evidence tying Lawrence to the shooting inside the Kekionga Drive apartment. Other than his cross-examinations of the state’s witnesses and his opening and closing statements, Swanson presented no additional defense of Lawrence.

(This was a difficult post, as the victim was also a perpetrator).

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