Guilty verdict in trial of slain Bellaire officer, shop owner

By Nakia Cooper - Senior Web Editor , Gianna Caserta - Reporter

HOUSTON - A man accused of killing a Bellaire police officer and an auto shop owner has been found guilty of capital murder.

Harlem Lewis, who was on trial for shooting and killing a Bellaire police officer and an auto shop owner on Christmas Eve in 2012, was convicted Friday afternoon.

It took jurors two hours to convict Lewis.

In closing arguments, defense attorneys asked the jury to opt for a lesser charge of murder which would possibly spare Harlem Lewis from the death penalty.

"He was still in shock when we took him back and explained what will happen on Monday, he started to cry a little bit," said defense attorney Patrick McCann. "We are obviously disappointed but we are hopeful that they were examining the evidence closely means that their minds are still open on the issue that we think is most important

Although police dash cam video shows Lewis shooting Bellaire Police Corporal Jimmie Norman and unarmed 66-year-old Terry Taylor at the end of a police chase, the defense argued that shooting Norman wasn't intentional. When Lewis took the stand, he testified "the gun went off" during the one minute struggle with Norman inside the car.

"All of this evidence doesn't matter. What does matter is what happened in that car during those few moments of struggle, what happened, the DNA person said DNA was on the trigger from Officer Norman, Harlem told you the gun went off," said defense attorney Patrick McCann.

Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson dismissed that idea saying Lewis pulled the trigger intentionally killing Norman and then intentionally killing Taylor just seconds later. 

"His finger was on the trigger, and the DNA on the trigger that was Jimmy Norman's the only way that DNA got there was after the trigger was pulled because it was his blood, it was his blood on the trigger, it was blowback, he was dying when that DNA got on the trigger," Anderson said.

The defense went on to say that Lewis's limitations might come into play.

"There have been several tests regarding Harlem's IQ which is pretty low, he obviously has some stunted abilities to communicate verbally," McCann said

The jury has already held Lewis accountable but he does not deserve to die, according to McCann.

"He is going to spend the rest of his life in prison, he is a very young man, this doesn't need to be another death in this tragedy," he said.

The sentencing phase will begin on Monday.

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