R. Lewis settles in Atlanta civil suit

Raven to compensate daughter of man killed after 2000 Super Bowl

May 01, 2004|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,SUN STAFF

Six weeks before a scheduled civil trial was to begin, Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis reached a financial settlement Thursday with the daughter of one of two men killed in a fight in Atlanta after the January 2000 Super Bowl.

Richard Lollar, 24, a barber who was stabbed to death outside a nightclub in the Buckhead section of the city, left behind a fiancee, Kellye Smith, who gave birth to their daughter about a month later.

Attorneys filed suit in August 2001 on her behalf against Lewis and four others in federal court in Atlanta.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, and all parties involved in the case are bound by a confidentiality clause, which precludes them from speaking about the settlement.

However, India Lollar, 4, is expected to receive at least $1 million, according to court sources, minus attorney fees. She and her mother, who live in Decatur, Ga., originally sought $13 million in the suit.

The settlement followed three mediation sessions between the parties and pre-empted a potential civil trial scheduled to begin June 14. Lewis, 28, attended the final mediation session Thursday, where the settlement was reached. The suit against Lewis and co-defendants Reginald Oakley, Joseph Sweeting, Kwame King and Carlos Stafford is expected to be dropped.

"The case has been amicably resolved and will be dismissed," said Thomas Carlock, an attorney representing Lewis. A suit filed by the family of the other victim in the fight was settled previously. Terms were not disclosed.

Michael Weinstock, an attorney representing the Lollar family, said the case was "settled to the satisfaction of the parties."

Atlanta authorities charged Lewis with two counts of murder and four other felony counts in the Jan. 30, 2000, deaths of Lollar and Jacinth Baker. Codefendants in the case were Oakley and Sweeting. King and Stafford were not charged.

All of the felony counts were eventually dropped against Lewis, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor obstruction of justice charges and was sentenced to a year of probation. He testified against Oakley and Sweeting, who were found not guilty in June 2000. No one else was charged in the killings.

During testimony at the criminal trial, Lewis said he and some friends had driven to Atlanta via limousine to attend activities related to the Super Bowl.

Lewis testified that a brawl broke out outside the Cobalt Lounge nightclub and that he attempted to act as a peacemaker, trying to get Sweeting and Oakley away from the fight.

Lewis, however, also testified that he had gone to a local sporting goods store where Sweeting and Oakley purchased knives on the day before the incident.

After the game, Lewis testified, he and Oakley, SweetIng, King and three women traveled to the Cobalt Lounge about 1 a.m., where they met Stafford and another woman, who had already arrived at the club.

After two or three hours inside the nightclub, members of the group walked down the street to get into the limo, but were distracted by an argument, Lewis testified.

That argument ended, but before the group could leave, a man hit Oakley in the head with a champagne bottle and a brawl broke out, Lewis testified.

"All hell broke loose at that point," Lewis testified.

In the aftermath, Lollar and Baker were fatally stabbed, and the limo left the scene. Baker's blood was found inside the limo, but an Atlanta jury took less than five hours to acquit Oakley and Sweeting.

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