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HOUSTON Defense lawyers for convicted killer Harlem Lewis called in his mother and former teachers to testify in Lewis capital murder sentencing trial.

Shelita Lewis took the stand with family photos. The pictures, admitted as evidence by defense lawyers, showed Lewis son, Harlem III, in his youth basketball jersey. Shelita Lewis called him a teen overworked by his dad. A cousin said Lewis grew up sheltered and was socially unaware.

Lewis former teachers at the Barbara Jordan High School for Careers told jurors Harlem stood out in class because of his good manners, respect for rules and hard work. He was a B student despite possessing a low intelligence quotient. One teacher cried when asked how she felt about her former student s crimes.

Jurors already convicted Lewis of capital murder for killing Bellaire Police Cpl. Jimmie Norman and car shop owner Terry Taylor on Christmas Eve 2012.

That day, (Harlem) was trying to avoid a confrontation, said Patrick McCann, Lewis lawyer. Pushed into an extreme situation, he did the worst possible thing. I think that s a function of his limitations.

For Lewis, life in prison is certain. The death penalty is also possible. So after testimony in the fourth day of Lewis sentencing trial, defense lawyers asked each witness if they understood that grieving families were watching and that jurors have Harlem s life in their hands.

This one incident is not who he is, or who he will be, and (we ll) let (the jury) decide if that s someone that they want to put on death row, McCann said.


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