Foreclosures during the Great Recession added to thousands of blighted properties in Columbus. But, a state program helped fund demolition of many of those houses and apartment units.
Sister of Teen on Trial for Killing Twin Brother Testifies He’s A “Peacemaker”
Listen to the Story
Money was a focus of Monday’s testimony in the murder trial of a Columbus teen accused of killing his twin brother last January. The teens’ sister tried to refute a possible motive presented by the prosecution.
The defense called Dianne Lewis, Derris’ older sister, to testify. From the witness stand she described her brother Derris, who is accused of killing his twin, as the passive one.
“Derris was the peacemaker, he’s the peacemaker. He’s more like the preacher type you know he wants to make peace with everything,” she said.
She portrayed the victim, Dennis, as a “firecracker.”
“Dennis was the outspoken one.”
The defense claims a group of masked men committed the murder. Prosecutors have tried to establish money as a motive for why 19-year-old Derris may have killed his brother.
Dianne Lewis testified her brother Derris needed a new car at the time of the murder. His car had a bad transmission. Prosecutor Doug Stead cross-examined Dianne Lewis.
“How was he going to pay for it if his brother hadn’t been killed? We would’ve gave him money like we normally do,” she said.
Instead, Dianne gave Derris money donated to the family following Dennis’s death. Derris used it to buy a used car.
Dennis was killed in his mother’s home on the city’s East Side. Dianne testified family members, including Derris, cleaned the house once police had finished investigating it as a crime scene. She said during the clean up Derris found an envelope of money in his brother’s dresser. But prosecutor Stead suggests Derris may have planted that money.
“Do you know where they found that envelope? They said the third draw down. Who said that? Christian and Derris. Did you actually see them find the money? No, I was in the living room.”
But Dianne testified that Dennis did not save his money and money would not have been in the house.
“He’s a heavy spender. OK. What kind of things…Clothes and shoes. He’s crazy over clothes and shoes.”
In other testimony, Two former roommates of Derris’s say he was at his home at the time of the slaying.