Lewis' clothing given to police

Witness had stored items since murders

March 09, 2000|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,SUN STAFF

A witness to the brawl that led to murder and assault charges against Ray Lewis has given police clothing that the Ravens linebacker was wearing when two men were stabbed to death outside an Atlanta nightclub.

Jessica Robertson, who spoke with Fulton County District Attorney's investigators on Saturday under a grant of immunity, had stored the clothing that police had been seeking since the day of the killings, sources said.

Lewis and two co-defendants have been charged with assault and murder stemming from a Jan. 31 fight that broke out about 3 a.m. after a Super Bowl party. Jacinth Baker, 21, and Richard Lollar, 24, both of Decatur, Ga., were killed in the fight by stab wounds to the heart.

Robertson turned the clothes over to investigators on Monday, according to several sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Her attorney, Akil K. Secret of Atlanta, declined to comment.

No description of the items was available last night. Lewis reportedly had worn a full-length, white fur coat and white cowboy hat to the nightclub.

Robertson's immunity agreement with prosecutors shields her from charges -- such as evidence tampering -- that she might face for having kept or transported the clothes.

Investigators are expected to test the clothing for evidence of blood, which could indicate whether Lewis came into contact with either victim during the fight.

Attorneys for Lewis ran an ad in Atlanta yesterday, seeking more evidence and witnesses to the incident in the upscale Buckhead neighborhood. The ad, in the alternative weekly "Creative Loafing," specifically mentions "photographs and/or videos taken at or near this location" between 3: 30 a.m. and 4 a.m.

Meanwhile, one witness, Kwame King, is awaiting word on whether he, too, will be given immunity. King, who came to Atlanta with Lewis in the 37-foot-long limousine, was contacted by investigators, said his attorney, Bruce H. Morris of Finestone & Morris in Atlanta.

"The prosecutor was interested in interviewing Kwame King and I said, `Fine, but give him immunity first,' " Morris said.

That conversation took place two weeks ago and Morris has not heard back. "Frankly, I don't think they have gotten around to it yet," he said yesterday.

King, 26, grew up in Lewis' hometown of Lakeland, Fla., and is a student at Florida A&M University. He was one of two people Lewis identified in a statement to police on the day of the killings as riding with him in the limo. Lewis also told them that King had his clothes.

A statement that King gave Lewis' legal team last month and that was obtained by The Sun says King never saw Lewis hit or stab anyone. Morris declined to say what King saw, other than to comment, "I don't think it would implicate Mr. Lewis in any way."

Also drawing interest from prosecutors is a friend of Robertson's who was in the limo. The Texas man is a law school student, according to his lawyer, Dwight L. Thomas of Atlanta.

The man, whom Thomas declined to name, plans to return to Atlanta over the weekend to discuss with him whether to seek immunity.

As many as 13 people were in the limousine, including the driver, his client has told him. Thomas said his client's testimony "could help Mr. Lewis in some aspects and it might not help in some aspects."

"The DA is very interested in talking to him," Thomas said.

Meanwhile, the affidavit used by Atlanta police to justify their search of Lewis' Baltimore County home was unsealed Tuesday. The document sheds further light on what investigators were told about the crime in the first few days and says they thought one of the co-defendants returned to the house after the killings.

It says the Baltimore-based limo driver, Duane Fassett, told them he saw Lewis "in a physical altercation with one of the victims." In a transcript of his statement to police, however, Fassett says only that "I saw him throw one punch."

If prosecutors can prove Lewis was, as they allege, an active participant in the fight that led to the stabbings, a jury could convict him of murder in Georgia. Atlanta police have said they have witnesses who were on the sidewalk and in the street during the brawl who saw Lewis hitting people.

Lewis' attorneys say he never threw a punch or wielded a knife and only tried to break up the fight between the victims and his co-defendants, Reginald Oakley, 31, of Baltimore, and Joseph Sweeting, 34, of Miami.

Fassett led police to Oakley and Sweeting when he identified them from a photo lineup and implicated them in the altercation, according to the affidavit.

Fassett told them he routinely picked up the two from Lewis' house on Sundays when the Ravens played at home. This appears to contradict Lewis' statement to police that other than King he barely knew the limo passengers, calling them "club people."

The affidavit said Fassett found "a substantial amount of blood within the passenger compartment" of the limo, some of it, apparently from a head wound suffered by Oakley.

Lewis was arrested the day of the killings and released Feb. 15 on $1 million bail. Oakley surrendered that day; Sweeting had done so the day before. They remain in jail awaiting a joint trial, which is scheduled May 15.

Police recovered a knife from the crime scene and were looking for others when they searched Lewis' house, the document says.

From Lewis' hotel room, they confiscated an airline itinerary for Oakley for a round trip between Baltimore and Atlanta. They confirmed he had used the return leg about six hours after the murders.

This raised suspicion that Oakley could have traveled to Lewis' house, bringing evidence with him. The search warrant specified "any folding knives" or bloodstained clothes, among other things, but it is not known what was seized other than computer equipment and papers.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.