Houston & Peach

Jury deliberations to resume Friday in Houston County alleged contract killing trial

PERRY -- Jury deliberations are expected to resume Friday in an alleged contract killing trial in Houston County.

Jurors deliberated for about 90 minutes before recessing for the day Thursday after hearing final witnesses, including the accused, and then closing arguments from prosecution and defense attorneys.

Devasko Lewis, 36, a former Cordele trucking company owner, is on trial in Superior Court on charges of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated battery and conspiracy to commit murder.

He’s accused of ordering a hit on Corey Daniels, who’s expected to testify against him in a federal trucking case.

But the killer got the wrong guy, instead fatally shooting Daniels’ nephew Kerry Glenn once in the back of the head Jan. 14, 2014, behind Daniels’ home off Ga. 224 near Perry.

Lewis also is accused of hiring 24-year-old Jamarcus Clark of Ashburn to send a message to Daniels by shooting up his mother’s house in Perry five days before the killing.

Clark is serving a life sentence in prison after pleading guilty to murder in Glenn’s slaying and to attempted murder in the incident at Daniels’ mother’s home. He testified that Lewis hired him.

Thursday, Lewis testified that he is “completely innocent” of all the charges against him.

Federal prosecutors allege that Lewis hired Daniels as a front man, transferring ownership of his trucking company and assets to Daniels but continuing to run his company in spite of a cease-operation order.

But Lewis testified that he was allowing Daniels to buy the business from him over time and that the shut down order did not prohibit him from assisting Daniels with the business. Federal prosecutors thought otherwise, and a federal grand jury indicted Lewis, Daniels and others for continuing operations.

When Daniels made a deal with federal prosecutors, Lewis testified, Daniels kept about $70,000 in cash and checks and three diesel trucks. Daniels testified that he kept much less than that from the business that was in his name and that he said he also helped run.

In closing arguments, prosecutor Daniel Bibler argued that cash, trucks and testimony is motive for murder.

But Lewis’ attorney Franklin J. Hogue argued that prosecutors “hitched themselves to two horses” -- Clark and his first-cousin Tony Taylor -- to “pull the wagon” of the prosecution’s case.

Taylor testified that he was the “facilitator” who connected Lewis to Clark. He was not charged in the Houston County case.

Lewis testified that Taylor, who is awaiting sentencing for federal tax fraud and identity theft, allegedly overheard Lewis tell his brother about the money Daniels had kept.

The defense’s theory is that Clark and Taylor conspired independently of Lewis to rob Daniels of the $70,000 he’d taken from the trucking company and that Glenn was killed in the process.

Bibler argued there was no evidence of a robbery at either Daniels’ mother’s home or at Daniels’ home where his nephew was slain.

But Hogue argued that Clark, who was unemployed, was flush with cash after the alleged robbery. He was able to get his car out of the shop and fix up a place he shared with his girlfriend, who is the mother of his child. Clark testified that Lewis gave him $2,500 for the Glenn killing and shooting up of Daniels’ mother’s home.

But Bibler asked jurors why Lewis and Taylor -- whom he characterized as “rats ... in the sewer” -- would conspire to set up Lewis.

“This case is a contract hit, a contract hit that went horribly wrong and killed an innocent man,” Bibler told jurors.