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Charges upgraded in killings of Bellaire officer, bystander

Erin Mulvane, Houston Chronicle
Updated 11:51 pm, Wednesday, January 16, 2013
  • Harlem Harold Lewis

    Harlem Harold Lewis

 

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The charges against a 21-year-old man accused of killing a Bellaire police officer and local businessman on Christmas Eve have been upgraded to two counts of capital murder.

Harlem Lewis III, weak and still recovering from bullet wounds, appeared in court Wednesday after he was booked last week into Harris County jail, having spent the previous several weeks in the hospital.

During the hearing, the judge decided to detain Lewis without bail.

He was initially charged with capital murder in the death of police officer Jimmie Norman and murder in the death of Terry Taylor. Lewis was charged Tuesday with a second capital murder charge in the double shooting.

On Dec. 24, Taylor and Norman were shot to death in a southwest Houston parking lot after a routine traffic stop.

Lewis sped away when Norman pulled him over for a traffic violation, and they later struggled, officials said. Lewis then shot the corporal, police said.

Seconds later, Taylor, 66, was fatally shot when he emerged from his bodyshop business to check on the commotion.

New DA takes reins

Lewis, wounded during a gunfight with other Bellaire officers, ran and tried to hide beneath a truck. A blood trail led police to him, however, after which he was arrested and taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital.

New Harris County District Attorney Mike Anderson, who is handling the case, appeared in court Wednesday for the hearing. Anderson has not decided whether to seek the death penalty.

Patrick McCann, one of Lewis’ attorneys, said he is optimistic that the new administration will give the case a fair review when deciding whether to seek the death penalty.

“What I believe is that this is a case where you have a white police officer and a young black defendant without a real history of violence,” McCann said. “Given this is a new administration committed to fairness for everyone, we are hoping race would not be a factor in the decision.”

Lewis’ next court date is March 12.