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Last updated: Sat. Feb. 23, 2013 - 01:10 am EDT

Killer gets 25 years in liquor shop gun attack

Shooting caught on tape; murder count cut in plea

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FORT WAYNE — While the family of the man he killed talked about the pain he caused, Michael Lewis sat with his head hanging, his attorney’s hand on his shoulder.

He had already made a statement, in the form of a letter read by his attorney Nikos Nakos. But as the family of Christopher Mhoon kept talking, Lewis seemed to shrink lower and lower.

Allen Superior Court Judge Fran Gull asked Lewis whether there was anything else he’d like to say before she sentenced him on the single charge of voluntary manslaughter.

Lewis had something else to say.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I’m very, very sorry. For everything.”

The 22-year-old Fort Wayne man was sentenced to 25 years in prison Friday, with an additional five years suspended and served on probation.

For some of Mhoon’s family and friends, that was too little time for shooting their loved one to death inside the door of a Cap n’ Cork liquor store June 8.

The mother of his children told Lewis he needed to serve the maximum sentence

But the plea agreement signed last month, which called for the dismissal of the more serious charge of murder in exchange for the plea to voluntary manslaughter, called for the sentence handed down Friday.

Lewis, of the 2600 block of Shady Oak Drive, was captured on video shooting Mhoon inside the doorway of the store.

On June 8, Mhoon walked into the Cap n’ Cork liquor store at 5727 S. Anthony Blvd., near East Paulding Road. Just inside the doorway, he immediately got into a fight with Joshua Morris.

Another man, who drove Lewis to the liquor store, went inside and tried to break up the fight. Lewis followed and pushed that man out of the way and shot Mhoon multiple times, according to court documents.

Mhoon’s young son was waiting in a car outside when Mhoon ran toward the door, staggered outside and collapsed in the doorway. The shooting was captured on in-store surveillance video, according to court documents.

After police provided local media with the surveillance video from the liquor store in hopes someone would come forward with the identities of the three men involved, several anonymous tips came to police identifying Lewis as the shooter, according to court documents.

As she sentenced Lewis on Friday, Gull turned to the families. “This was a tragedy for everybody, for your family and his family,” she said. “You have the court’s sympathy.”

Last week, Lewis testified for the prosecution in a murder case of A.C. James Jr. James was convicted of shooting to death Lewis’ cousin, Kyree Ellis, after a fight over a lost cellphone.

rgreen@jg.net


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