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Man accused of capital murder in 4-year-old son's death

Man accused of capital murder in 4-year-old son's death

March 13th, 2018 by Lynn LaRowe in Texarkana News
Benearl Lewis

Bail is set at $1 million for a Texarkana man accused of capital murder in the death last week of his 4-year-old son from blunt-force trauma.

Benearl Jermane Lewis, 24, was not supposed to be alone with his son, D'Money Lewis, or D'Money's 6-year-old brother, according to a probable-cause affidavit used to create the following account. D'Money's brother has the same mother, but a different father, and is not being identified because of his age.

"Our investigation has revealed D'Money and his 6-year-old brother were in the care, custody and control of Benearl Jermane Lewis while the mother was at work, which violates a CPS (Child Protective Services) safety plan that was already in effect from a prior incident, and there were no other persons in the home during the time period D'Money's injuries were sustained," states an affidavit penned by Wake Village, Texas, Police Detective Todd Aultman.

Lewis and D'Money's mother were driving him to the hospital about 4:15 p.m. March 6 when they came upon a traffic accident at West Seventh Street and Bishop Lane in Texarkana, Texas, being worked by Texarkana, Texas, police. The couple told officers they had a child in the car who was unresponsive and not breathing and that they lived in the 200 block of Redwater Road in Wake Village.

D'Money was taken to Wadley Regional Medical Center in Texarkana via ambulance while in cardiac arrest. Aultman's report states he observed a large area of bruising on the boy's back and "strap" marks on D'Money's legs and back. Staff at Wadley told Aultman the boy was suffering from bleeding in the brain and bruising to his back and chest "as if he had been kicked."

After initial treatment at Wadley, D'Money was taken to Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock. Medical staff there told investigators that the boy's injuries were inconsistent with the account allegedly provided by his parents and more likely the result of abuse.

Lewis and the boy's mother, Khadijah Wright, allegedly told investigators that D'Money had "jumped or fallen from a deep freezer and that his eyes rolled back in his head," the affidavit states. Lewis allegedly claimed that after determining the child wasn't breathing, he and Wright decided to take the boy to the hospital in their car.

Following D'Money's death March 8, his body was taken to Dallas for an autopsy. Among the damage documented to the child's body was a "space occupying subdural hematoma" that had caused the youngster's brain to "herniate down into his spine," the affidavit states.

Also noted at autopsy was bruising to the child's legs and back, as well as tissue damage to his kidneys.

Lewis' arrest for capital murder March 10 is not his first contact with law enforcement. Bowie County court records show he was convicted in August 2017 of misdemeanor unlawful carrying of a weapon, evading arrest, possession of a controlled substance and fleeing for conduct in July 2017 and convicted of misdemeanor evading arrest and failure to identify in August 2017 for conduct which occurred in June 2017.

In 2014, Wright filed for a protective order against Lewis in Miller County, Ark. According to the petition, Wright was recovering from child birth at UAMS in Little Rock when Lewis came to visit her Jan. 2, 2014. Lewis allegedly hit Wright in the mouth with his left fist. Pulaski County court records show Wright was charged with misdemeanor domestic battering, but that the charges were dismissed in April 2014.

A hearing to address the custody of D'Money's 6-year-old brother was conducted Tuesday afternoon before 102nd District Judge Bobby Lockhart, but was not open to the public.

Lewis is being held in the Bowie County jail. If convicted of capital murder in D'Money's death, Lewis faces life without the possibility of parole or death by lethal injection.

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