Jury selected in trial of man accused of killing Bellaire police officer, business owner

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by Kevin Reece / KHOU 11 News and KHOU.com staff

khou.com

Posted on July 14, 2014 at 12:58 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 14 at 7:09 PM

HOUSTON — A jury was selected Monday to begin the capital murder trial of a man accused of killing a Bellaire police officer and a business owner on Christmas Eve in 2012.

Harlem Lewis III, 23, was charged with capital murder in the shooting deaths of Cpl. Jimmie Norman, a 24-year-veteran of the Bellaire Police Department, and auto body shop owner Terry Taylor.

It all happened at the Maaco shop in the 5600 block of Bellaire. Devon Anderson is prosecuting this case herself as was the practice of the former Harris County District Attorney, her late husband, in capital murder cases.

But in this case, the entire incident, two men shot and killed, was captured on multiple surveillance cameras.

“And you’re going to watch it happen, because this capital murder is captured on video from beginning to end,” Anderson said.

Anderson says that video will show an officer trying to stop a fleeing suspect, who crashed into another car during the pursuit.

That other driver – crying on the stand – also joined police in the chase.

But the defense will argue the video, which shows Lewis shooting Norman and Taylor as he ran forward to help the officer, doesn’t tell the entire story.

“They’re struggling in the car and Harlem Lewis believes this officer is trying to hurt him. He’s not stopping me for a traffic ticket. This has gone beyond something else,” defense attorney Tyrone Moncriffe said.

Lewis’ defense isn’t that he didn’t do it, it’s that he panicked, had a deep distrust of police he’d learned from his family. He will argue that he doesn’t deserve the death penalty.

“Harlem Lewis didn’t go over there that day to shoot a police officer or shoot anybody,” Lewis said.

But a jury of nine men and three women will decide what the videos prove to them when multiple angles of the shootings are played in open court.

“And none of these are easy to watch, but we must watch them. We’re going to show you everything that we have because these are the best evidence of the case,” Anderson said.

The shootings rocked the community, leaving family, friends and coworkers devastated.

Norman had a wife and two adult children. He was recognized by the FBI in 2010 for helping stop a string of bank robberies. Friends said Taylor was a proud father, grandfather and veteran.

The trial is Anderson’s first capital murder trial since taking office.

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