Archive for Friday, July 26, 2002

Ex-companion falls on hard times after arrest

July 26, 2002

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Until her now-ex-boyfriend was arrested, Stacie McClelland, 21, was doing all right for herself.

"I was completely off welfare," she said. "I was making it, I was paying my bills. It seemed like for the first time in my life I wasn't struggling."

But after police arrested Damien C. Lewis, 22, July 17 at McClelland's apartment, everything changed.

"I've gone from not depending on anybody to having to borrow money for a box of diapers," she said, her voice cracking. "Now I'm totally screwed, I have nothing and I've done nothing wrong. I'm the one who turned him in. I did what was right, but that's not how I'm being treated."

Lewis was later charged with killing an elderly couple during a July 10 burglary at their home, 1530 Learnard Ave.

Since Lewis' arrest, McClelland said she'd lost her license to care for children in her apartment within Edgewood Homes, a Lawrence Housing Authority-run apartment complex at 16th Street and Haskell Avenue. She had been taking care of three children.

McClelland also has been evicted.

"Our leases are very specific," Charlotte Knoche, assistant housing director at Edgewood Homes. "Tenants are prohibited from having someone living with them who is not part of the lease. That's very clear."

Housing Authority officials maintain that Lewis was living with McClelland in violation of the rules. She said Lewis had visited and spent nights at the apartment and received one letter in the mail, but that he didn't live at her place. In any event, McClelland said, other tenants routinely ignore the rule about unapproved live-in boyfriends.

Housing Authority officials distributed a letter earlier this week to all 130 apartments, reminding the complex's 290 tenants of the rules.

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