Archive for Saturday, December 14, 2002

Suspect in double slaying ordered to stand trial

December 14, 2002


Douglas County District Judge Michael Malone on Friday ordered Damien C. Lewis to stand trial in the July 10 shooting deaths of an elderly Lawrence couple.

"It appears that felonies have been committed and that there's probable cause to believe that Damien Lewis was involved," Malone said during preliminary hearing proceedings.

Lewis' arraignment, during which he'll plead innocent, guilty or no contest, is set for 1:30 p.m. Jan. 23.

A gag order imposed by Malone prevented Lewis' attorneys and Douglas County Dist. Atty. Christine Kenney from commenting on Friday's decision.

During the hearing, Kenney said she planned to file a motion asking that Lewis be tried - assuming he pleads innocent - for both the murders of George "Pete" Wallace and Wyona Chandlee and an unrelated armed robbery.

Lewis was arrested July 16 after a Lawrence man, Norris Hunter, told police he and a friend had been robbed at gunpoint by Lewis and an accomplice.

The accomplice, Malcolm Glover, testified Friday that he thought he and Lewis were meeting Hunter to "put some money together to score some weed" when Lewis put a pistol to the back of Hunter's head and demanded all his money.

Later that night, Hunter took police to Lewis' girlfriend's apartment, where Lewis was arrested.

Items belonging to Wallace and Chandlee later were found among Lewis' possessions.

Lewis, 22, is charged with capital murder, aggravated burglary and felony possession of a firearm.

If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

Thursday, Lawrence Police Detective M.T. Brown testified that Lewis had confessed that Wallace and Chandlee, both 71, had come home while he was burglarizing their east Lawrence home, and that he had killed them to avoid being reported to police.

Kenney said autopsy reports showed Wallace and Chandlee each were shot twice in the head.

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