HOUSTON - A jury is deciding the fate of the man convicted of killing a Bellaire police officer and an innocent bystander on Christmas Eve 2012.
Closing arguments wrapped up Monday in the punishment phase for Harlem Lewis, the 23-year-old who shot and killed Bellaire Police Cpl. Jimmie Norman, 53, and Maaco shop owner Terry Taylor, 66, at the end of a police chase. Lewis could either spend the rest of his life in prison or could be put to the death for the crime. His defense wants his life to be spared.
Norman was a 24-year police veteran with the Bellaire Police Department. He attempted to pull over the car Lewis was driving after running a computer check on the license plate, and learning a warrant had been issued for insufficient insurance.
According to fellow Bellaire officer Sergio Salinas, Lewis led Norman on a chase through residential streets until side-swiping a truck driven by Sylvan Romera Amaya. Amaya testified he also began chasing Lewis at that point to get his license and insurance information.
Lewis continued on in his damaged car for a few blocks before pulling into the parking lot of the Maaco body shop. Taylor knew Norman, and came out to try to assist him. As the officer was trying to pull Lewis from his car, Lewis shot him. He then aimed the gun at Taylor, shooting and killing him also.
Prosecutors said Lewis then turned to shoot Amaya who was also standing near his car, but Amaya dove to the ground after hearing the first shot.
After the shooting, Lewis fled on foot, but was shot and wounded and then captured by Bellaire officers who had come to assist Norman.
Defense attorney Tyrone Moncriffe did not deny Lewis pulled the trigger, said Lewis did not deserve the death penalty because he was frightened and unsure why Norman was trying to pull him over. He said Lewis was distrustful of police officers because he had been stopped repeatedly by police when driving through "certain areas."
The jury will be back deliberating on Tuesday morning.
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