Stabbing victim's relative files suit against R. Lewis

Civil action blames Raven for man's death in Atlanta

February 14, 2002|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,SUN STAFF

Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis has been named in a second civil suit seeking to blame him for the stabbing deaths of two men in Atlanta after the 2000 Super Bowl was played there.

Lewis was originally charged with murder in the case, but prosecutors reduced the charges to obstruction of justice mid-trial in exchange for his testimony against two co-defendants. Lewis served probation.

His co-defendants, Joseph Sweeting of Goulds, Fla., and Reginald Oakley of Baltimore, were acquitted in the trial. They are named as defendants in the latest lawsuit, which seeks at least $13 million in damages. It was filed in federal court in Atlanta on Jan. 30, one day before the expiration of the statute of limitations for such lawsuits to be filed.

Also named as defendants are Kwame King, residence unknown, and Carlos Stafford Jr., of Houston. The two men were not charged in the criminal case but were mentioned in testimony as possible witnesses or participants in a brawl that led to the deaths.

The case was filed on behalf of Gladys Robinson, grandmother of Jacinth Baker and administrator of his estate. Baker, 21, and Richard Lollar, 24, were stabbed to death outside a nightclub in the early-morning hours of Jan. 31, 2000.

A separate lawsuit was filed last August against the same defendants on behalf of India Riche Smith, a baby born to Lollar's fiance after his death. It also seeks damages of at least $13 million.

Lewis' attorney in both civil cases, Thomas S. Carlock of Atlanta, said, "There's no evidence Ray did anything other than the fact that he was there."

"He's really a gentle giant," Carlock said.

The new case alleges, in part, that Lewis is responsible for the wrongful death of Baker because he was the host of a drunken gathering of men he knew to be violent and armed with knives and he failed to keep them from killing.

"The trail of the victim's blood went right into Mr. Lewis' limo," said Robinson's attorney, Richard H. Middleton Jr., of Savannah, Ga.

The suit seeks damageson behalf of Baker's estate. Because he was unmarried and childless at the time of his death, any money won would probably go to his siblings, Middleton said.

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