DENVER (CBS4) – The jury now has the case against a man accused of killing five people inside a Denver bar during a botched robbery. The crime was covered up when the place was set on fire with the victims still inside.
Dexter Lewis, 25, remained without expression throughout his capital murder trial. The jury got the case late Wednesday afternoon. It’s a complicated case with the defense and prosecution painting the defendant in two very different lights.
Lewis is accused of killing five people inside Fero’s Bar & Grill and then setting the building on fire. Prosecutors say Lewis and the other co-defendants went to the bar to rob it but it turned into a brutal murder scene.
“This is about viciously killing five innocent victims … stabbing them over and over and over because they got a look at your face, because you had to do it after you did the first,” prosecutor Joseph Morales said.
The two other co-defendants, brothers Lynell and Joseph Hill, pleaded guilty to the killings two years ago after agreeing to testify against Lewis.
“This blame shifting co-defendant was testifying for his life. He was here to fulfill his plea bargain. His plea bargain required him to, in his words, ‘cooperate.’ ” Lewis’ attorney Chris Baumann said.
The defense says Denver police initially had no witnesses and suspects in the murders. Then walked in a confidential informant from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Demarea Harris, who was at the crime scene with the three defendants.
“(Harris) knew that it was only a matter of time before the police came looking at the Hill brothers. He needed to beat them to the punch, and he knew that the first to talk is the first to walk,” Baumann said.
The prosecution defended their star witness saying he had no motive to come forward to police other than his conscience.
The case is the first capital punishment case in Denver in more than a decade.