Lewis Found Guilty Of 1st-Degree Murder, Robbery

  • Thursday, April 18, 2024
Terrence Lewis
Terrence Lewis

A Criminal Court jury found drug dealer Terrence Dewayne Lewis guilty of first-degree murder and robbery in the slaying of 20-year-old UTC student Evan Derry.

It will be the second life prison sentence for the Chattanooga man. Lewis is already serving a life sentence for the December 2020 murder of Randy Williams, and he has been accused of a third murder, that of Pierre Casseus in November 2021.

The jury in the courtroom of Judge Barry Steelman began deliberating late Thursday morning in the trial that started last Friday.

Prosecutors acknowledged that the victim was at the scene at N. Bishop Drive on a drug deal in the Dec. 28, 2017, incident. With him was Baxter McCurry, who was owed a large amount of money by Lewis.

McCurry was later killed in a motorcycle wreck, but the state played his initial interview with police as well as two court appearances.

Defense attorney Josh Weiss said there were gaps in the state's proof and said detectives did not adequately check out a man who was later found to possess a gun that was fired at the murder scene.

Prosecutor Andrew Coyle said the man could have been at the scene, or he may have bought the gun later on the street.

A witness said she saw men in woods in the vicinity of the shooting, then heard shots. She afterward saw a black sedan stop by the shot-up Derry Tahoe and get something out of the vehicle. Prosecutor Coyle said that was Lewis getting about 10 pounds of marijuana. He said piles of cash in the vehicle were not taken. Some marijuana was left as well.

The prosecutor said that matched a black Chrysler 200 that Lewis drove, including on his Uber job.

Prosecutor Coyle highlighted a number of texts in which McCurry was trying to get Lewis to pay him the debt.

He said Lewis did not have the money to repay it, so he planned "the perfect robbery." He said Lewis brought along backup - men with guns - in case there was resistance. He said it was not likely that Derry and McCurry would report a robbery because it would identify them as drug dealers.

Prosecutor Coyle said the perfect crime was foiled when McCurry jumped out of the Tahoe and ran into nearby woods and Derry tried to drive away. Derry was shot in the head with the bullet exiting his head and going through the front windshield.

He said afterwards there were texts from Lewis discussing marijuana sales he was able to make due to the robbery.

McCurry fled to Smyrna, but soon returned and confessed his part in the incident. The prosecutor said Lewis did not go home after the robbery, but started staying in hotels.

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