Posts Tagged ‘murder trial’

Ray Lewis’ co-defendant in 2000 murder trial gives his version of events that led to killings

February 2, 2013

Ray Lewis Reginald Oakley

As Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis prepares to play in Super Bowl XLVII Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, questions continue to arise about his legacy and his connection to a double murder that took place 13 years ago in Atlanta.

One of Lewis’ co-defendants in the double murder trial, Reginald Oakley, said in an interview with Examiner.com Thursday that Lewis didn’t testify about everything he knew about the fatal fight, and tried to shift suspicion onto Oakley after the killings. Still, Oakley says his only problem with Lewis is that the future Hall of Famer blamed Oakley for instigating the fight.

Excerpts from the article are below:

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And by granting Lewis a plea bargain, Howard, who at the beginning of the trial told the court Lewis was a liar, placed himself in the position of having to prove to the jury that Lewis was credible in testifying against Oakley and Sweeting.

For example, after blood was found on pillows in Lewis’ hotel room after the killings, Howard questioned Lewis so he could provide an explanation. Lewis told the court:

“I had an injury from football that my head — usually when I play, my head gets cut open a lot of times. I have a certain type of skin on the of my head, falitivitis (sic) or something like that. I’m not sure what — exactly what it is, but it bleeds. It used to bleed a lot, and now it’s just really getting, you know, controlled now.”

Howard asked if Lewis took medication for that condition and Lewis replied, “Yes.”

Virtually everyone who testified or talked about the case described varying versions of who started the fight, what exactly happened during the melee, and what occurred in its aftermath. It didn’t help that the incident occurred shortly before 4 a.m., when many witnesses and those involved in the incident were at least partly intoxicated.

No one testified that Lewis ever possessed a knife, and Lewis never testified that he saw a knife in the hands of Oakley or Sweeting during the incident.

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Oakley’s version of the argument that led to the fight

Oakley told Examiner.com what he said when he walked up to Lewis, who was standing across from Gwen and his friend:

I asked Ray, “Is everything alright?” and he tapped me on the shoulder and was like, “Come on, let’s go” and brings me back to the limousine. Gwen and his friend came up behind me, talking tough and I turned around and was like, “Is there a problem?” and then they started talking about what they were going to do.

I said, “You’re not going to do nothing to me, and we got into a confrontation and Ray came back and grabbed me and put me in the limo and he got back out of the limo because his friends, (Joseph) Sweeting and (Kwame) King were out of the limo talking to the guys, asking what’s going on or whatever.

Then one of the guys walked by and said something to Ray and then I saw some more guys coming up behind Ray, so I got out of the limousine to tell Ray, and that’s when Baker hit me in the head with the Moet bottle. And that’s when everybody started fighting.

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Lewis’ version of the fight

After Baker hit Oakley with the bottle, Lewis testified that a brawl ensued:

LEWIS: It was, from that point, it was chaos, whatever, when he hit him in the head, them two just, I mean, went in a dramatic fashion of fighting.

HOWARD: Would you describe what you mean by “fighting?”

LEWIS: Fighting, I mean, you hit me, I hit you back. We just fighting. We just fighting.

***

Lewis may just happen to be a flawed person who made major mistakes in his past but has learned from them and moved on to live a better life.

That won’t be any consolation to the friends and families of the victims, though.

To read the entire article on Examiner.com, including different accounts of the argument that led to the fight, the brawl, and the aftermath, click here. See http://www.examiner.com/article/ray-lewis-former-co-defendant-speaks-on-argument-that-led-to-2-murders-2000.

Ray Lewis murder trial in news as Ravens and 49ers prepare for Super Bowl

January 26, 2013

When Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis walks off the field after Super Bowl XLVII against the San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans Nov. 3, he will leave a legacy as one of the greatest players of all time.

Off the field, however, questions remain about the 13-time Pro Bowl selection, Super Bowl XXXV MVP, and future Hall of Famer despite numerous charitable works and a reputation for being an inspiration to his team.

In the early morning hours of Jan. 31, 2000 after Super Bowl XXXIV in Atlanta, two men, Richard Lollar and Jacinth Baker, died of stab wounds after a fight with members of Lewis’ entourage outside a nightclub. Lewis and two friends, Reginald Oakley and Joseph Sweeting, were charged with murder.

Lewis later agreed to plead guilty to obstruction of justice in exchange for the prosecution dropping murder charges against him. As part of the deal, Lewis testified against Oakley and Sweeting, who were subsequently acquitted of murder charges.

I did an article on Lewis’ dual legacy of being a great player and having the stain of the murder trial. I interviewed Priscilla Lollar, the mother of slain victim Richard Lollar; Oakley, and the lawyer who represented Lewis in the case, Ed Garland. Lollar holds Lewis responsible for the death of her son. Oakley said Lewis started the incident with a verbal argument, and Garland said Lewis was truthful once he made the plea bargain (after he misled authorities).

It seems to me that Lewis has gotten tons of praise and virtually no criticism in the past decade or more. It’s only now that the Ravens are in the Super Bowl that people are bringing up the trial again, which had been largely forgotten, just like the victims in the case. Lewis has carefully cultivated a persona of being a spiritual, inspirational leader, and it doesn’t hurt that he is emotional, passionate, and expressive, which is always good for TV.

Please see my article at http://www.examiner.com/article/ray-lewis-legacy-questions-remain-from-murder-trial-for-baltimore-ravens-star.


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