HOUSTON -- Thursday afternoon the prosecution rested its case in the capital murder trial of Harlem Harold Lewis III. Friday the defense begins presenting its evidence in an uphill battle to spare the accused cop killer from the death penalty.
The jury has now watched the police dash cam video twice that shows Lewis, then 21-years-old, gunning down Bellaire Police Corporal Jimmie Norman and unarmed, 66-year-old Terry Taylor Christmas Eve 2001 at the end of a brief police chase in Bellaire. Multiple surveillance cameras from the business park where the shootings happened also recorded the fatal struggle and Lewis attempt to escape when other officers arrived and opened fire.
If closing arguments also happen Friday, the jury could begin deliberations Friday afternoon with the potential of being sequestered through the weekend until they reach a verdict. But few people, including the suspect s family expect the verdict to take long. They are just hoping the jury, when faced with additional evidence in the penalty phase, will opt for life in prison without parole instead of the death penalty.
But I know this wasn t something that he meant to do intentionally though, said Lewis aunt Niesha Williams. But I don t know what was going on with him. He s not this type of child, he s no monster. He s a good kid. He was raised up right. So I don t know. I feel like he was fearing for his life. He was scared.
In the first four days of the trial in Harris County Criminal Court, prosecutors led by Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson - have methodically presented their evidence that showed Lewis defying the officer s orders multiple times, then shouting during a struggle with Corporal Norman that he was trying to reach his cell phone. He produced a .380 caliber handgun instead, shot the officer in the head above the left eyebrow. Two seconds later, standing over the officer s body he turned and fired a fatal shot into the neck of Terry Taylor who had rushed from his auto body store to help the officer. Lewis ran with his gun in hand when other officers arrived and opened fire, wounding Lewis during the foot pursuit.
The defense begins presenting its case Friday morning. Defense attorney Patrick McCann tells KHOU 11 News that they have not completely decided if they will put Harlem Harold Lewis on the stand in his own defense.