Houston & Peach

Man behind Houston County contract killing sentenced to life plus 10 years

PERRY -- A man behind a contract killing in Houston County was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without the possibility of parole, plus 10 years.

Devasko Lewis, 36, a former Cordele trucking company owner, was convicted by a jury a week earlier of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated battery and conspiracy to commit murder for hiring Jamarcus Clark to kill federal witness Corey Daniels. Clark killed Daniels’ nephew Kerry Glenn by mistake on Jan. 14, 2014, behind Daniels’ home near Perry.

Glenn, the father of four children, was shot once in the head as he was showing Clark an older racing car on blocks that Clark had pretended to be interested in. Federal prosecutors contend that Daniels was the front man behind the trucking company that Lewis had been ordered to shut down but allegedly continued to operate.

“He was facing 12 months in prison and he hires a man to literally take out and kill the man who’s going to testify against him. ... That is hard for me to comprehend,” Superior Court Judge George F. Nunn said when pronouncing Lewis’ sentence.

Nunn described the killing as “a cold-blooded, calculated murder.”

Lewis’ attorney, Franklin J. Hogue of Macon, argued for the least amount of prison time Lewis could have received: life with the possibility of parole. He argued that Lewis and Clark’s responsibility was equal in the killing, and that Clark is serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole.

Prosecutor Dan Bibler argued for the maximum sentence, noting that Lewis set the killing in motion and that a young man lost his life.

Nunn noted that testimony during the trial was that Lewis had approached Clark’s first cousin Tony Taylor about finding someone to kill Daniels, and that two others had been asked to do it before Clark was asked and agreed.

“Lewis was just going to find somebody to do what he wanted done,” Nunn said. “He was going to pay money and not be the trigger man and hopefully let Mr. Clark or whoever else might be willing to do it for money take the heat and the rap and he’d be out of the picture.”

Clark testified against Lewis at his trial. Clark also pleaded guilty to attempted murder of Daniels’ mother for firing two shots into her Perry home five days before the slaying. Jurors acquitted Lewis of conspiracy to commit murder in that incident.

“When this murder happened and Kerry was killed, a part of me went along with him,” Earnestine McGhee, Daniels’ mother and Glenn’s grandmother, told the judge through an impact statement read aloud in court. “I have cried so much, I didn’t think I had any tears left.”

McGhee asked the judge to impose the maximum sentence.

“Ever since this happened, I live in fear,” McGhee wrote in the statement. “I watch over my shoulder when I go in and out. A person should not have to live like this.

“When the phone rings at night, I’m terrified. When someone knocks at the door, it’s frightening. I know that with prayer and the support of my family, I know we will make it. It will be hard, but we will make it,” McGhee wrote.

In the federal case, Lewis is accused of transferring ownership and assets of the trucking business to Daniels, but continuing to operate the business through Daniels. Lewis testified at his murder trial that Daniels was in the process of buying the business over time and that he did not think he was prohibited from helping him with the business.

Daniels kept cash and three trucks when the business ceased operations after he made a deal with prosecutors that kept him out of prison and included testimony against Lewis, according testimony during the murder trial.

The prosecution argued that cash, trucks and testimony was motive for murder. The defense countered that Clark acted independently of Lewis and under the influence of Taylor, who had allegedly hired him a year earlier to shoot up the home of a Turner County reporter-editor who’d written about Taylor’s federal tax fraud and identity theft case, according to trial testimony.

A federal prosecutor sat in the courtroom and listened to the sentencing procedure Friday. He declined comment on the pending case, as did the spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Macon.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.