Houston authorities: Man hired to kill nephew of witness in federal trial

bpurser@macon.comFebruary 5, 2014 

PERRY -- Kerry Glenn was killed outside a Houston County home in January because his uncle was expected to testify against another man in a federal court case, a sheriff’s investigator testified Wednesday.

Devasko Dewayne Lewis, 35, of Cordele, and Jamarcus Akeem Clark, 23, of Ashburn, are charged with murder in Glenn’s Jan. 14 slaying behind a manufactured home on Ga. 224 West near Perry.

Houston County sheriff’s Cpl. Patrick Lange, the lead investigator in the killing, testified at a first-appearance hearing for Lewis that his co-defendant in the federal trucking-related case -- Glenn’s uncle, Corey Daniels -- had agreed to testify against Lewis.

Daniels believed Lewis had reason to harm Glenn as a result of Daniels’ expected testimony, Lange said.

Lange also testified that Clark, the accused shooter, told authorities Lewis agreed to pay him $5,000 to kill Glenn and provided both the truck he drove to the residence and the gun used in the killing.

Clark also told authorities Lewis paid him $1,000 and gave him a different gun to fire shots into the Perry home of Daniels’ mother in an attempt to kill her, Lange said. The mother was not hurt in the shooting, which happened a few days before Glenn’s death.

Clark told authorities Lewis was upset that Clark botched the first job and then sent him after Daniels’ nephew, Lange said. Investigators have cellphone records that show calls between Lewis’ cellphone and a prepaid disposable phone Clark says Lewis gave him. The calls started a few days before the killing on Jan. 11 and ended Jan. 14, the day of the killing, Lange said.

Also, a surveillance video from a Cordele gas station the same day of the killing shows Lewis and another man alleged to be Clark exchanging vehicles and talking. Lange said he cannot identify Clark from the video, but Clark says it was him and that Lewis gave him the vehicle to drive to the residence and kill Glenn. Glenn was shot once in the back of the head between 6:30 and 7:45 p.m.

Authorities did not recover the weapons, which Clark said he gave back to Lewis, or any cash. But Lange testified that Clark’s girlfriend told investigators she was surprised when she saw Clark with a large amount of money sometime after the first shooting because he didn’t have a job. Clark told authorities he spent the $1,000 cash.

Changing stories

Franklin J. Hogue, a Macon attorney representing Lewis, questioned Lange about a third man, Antonio Taylor, who also goes by the alias of Tony Burgess. Clark told authorities he met Lewis through Taylor, Lange said.

But when authorities interviewed Taylor, he did not corroborate Clark’s statement and denied hooking up the men to arrange the killing. In addition, Lewis denied “all knowledge of Kerry Glenn” and said he did not know Clark, Lange said.

When authorities interviewed Clark, he initially admitted to shooting at the house in Perry in exchange for money from Lewis, Lange said.

But Clark originally told authorities a man named “Bruce,” whom he did not know, hired him to kill Glenn. Then Clark said Lewis hired him to drive Lewis to Perry “to do the murder” and later, during the same five-hour interview, Clark said Lewis did the shooting, Lange said.

The investigator said he didn’t believe Clark and continued questioning him because he thought Clark was the shooter. Clark’s final version of events was that Lewis hired him to kill Glenn as retribution for Daniels’ testifying against him in federal court, Lange said.

After the hearing, Hogue said authorities have “pretty slim evidence so far” against Lewis.

He said the measuring stick for probable cause to send the case before a Houston County grand jury for indictment is much less than required to convict Lewis at trial.

Hogue said investigators have no taped telephone recordings, no evidence that money exchanged hands, no murder weapon and no eyewitnesses -- only the word of an unemployed man who admitted to authorities that he killed Glenn.

Hogue also questioned whether the federal case was worth allegedly killing someone over. Keith Fitzgerald, who works in the same law firm of Hogue & Hogue, is representing Lewis in the federal case.

Prosecutors George Hartwig and Dan Bibler declined comment after the hearing.

Federal charges

A federal grand jury indicted Lewis on May 16 on charges of making false statements and conspiring to continue operating his trucking company after he was ordered to cease, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Macon. That case is pending.

Lewis, who ran Lewis Trucking, was ordered to stop operations under an order issued in October 2008 by a branch of the Department of Transportation. The order was issued based on safety issues and other irregularities, said Pamela Lightsey, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Lewis is accused of violating the order by continuing to operate commercial motor vehicles and concealing his true involvement by filing applications for Department of Motor Carrier numbers under names other than his own.

He faces up to five years in prison, up to $25,000 in fines and up to one year of supervised release if convicted, the release stated.

However, J. Travis Griffin, an attorney for Hogue & Hogue, said a review of the sentencing guidelines indicates the maximum amount Lewis would serve, if convicted, would be one year in prison. He characterized the false statements as a minor felony charge and said the conspiracy was a misdemeanor.

“It’s not hit-man worthy, is the gist,” Griffin said.

Daniels was accused of making false statements and conspiring with Lewis to continue operating in spite of the order, according to the indictment. Daniels pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge, while the other charge was dismissed. The plea agreement also called for his truthful testimony about his and others’ involvement in the alleged conspiracy and a sentence recommendation of probation. The maximum he could receive at sentencing is one year in prison, a $25,000 fine and one year of supervision upon release. He’s scheduled for sentencing this coming May.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service