Veteran journalist Carl Hoffman believes he’s solved one of the great mysteries of the 20th century. In 1961 at the age of 23, Michael Rockefeller – son of New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller and a member of one of the richest and most powerful families in America ¬– travelled to remote New Guinea in search of primitive art for his father’s new museum.
Twin Murder Trial Goes To Jury
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It’s up ten women and two men to decide if 19-year-old Derris Lewis murdered his twin brother last January. After hearing final arguments from attorneys Judge Guy Reece instructed jurors to weigh the evidence in the case.
“Consult with one another and consider each other’s view if you can do so without disturbing each other’s judgment.” Judge Reece told jurors to take their time reviewing the case’s evidence. And not to let other jurors’ feelings affect their vote of guilty or not guilty.
In his final argument to jurors Prosecutor Tim Mitchell said they faced a “stark decision”. And he asked them to come back with a guilty verdict.
“It won’t be easy, he’s guilty. And he’s guilty of all of this,” Mitchell said.
Derris Lewis is charged with aggravated murder, murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary and kidnapping. His twin brother, Dennis, was shot and bludgeoned in the head last year at his mother’s home during a robbery.
Lewis did not become a suspect until about a month later – when police found his fingerprint in some of Dennis’s blood at the crime scene. The defense claims the print is not in the blood – instead they say it’s above the blood and was there before the murder.
Prosecutor Doug Stead asked jurors to use their common sense during deliberation.
“The bloody print says murder. The print speaks for itself. Physical evidence does not lie. People do,” he said.
Defense attorney Adam Nemann told jurors police are wrong about the fingerprint. He said something went wrong during the investigation.
“It is not in Dennis’s blood. And they told you there was no forced entry. No forced entry over and over and over again. That’s what they indicated to you that’s because no forced entry wouldn’t work with their theory that Derris was involved,” Nemann said.
The prosecution says money was the reason why Derris killed Dennis. They say Derris knew his brother was saving money. Police did not find any money in Dennis’s room during their investigation. But Derris found an envelope of money in his brother’s dresser when he helped his family clean the house when the police were done with it. Prosecutor Doug Stead said Derris planted the money.
“The money being found in the dresser. Folks I submit to you he put the money back when he went back into the house because his conscience wouldn’t let him live with the blood money,” Stead said.
Derris’s sister, Dianne Lewis, testified Monday money could not have been a motive because Dennis liked to spend his money not save it. And money would not have been in the house.
Defense attorney Nemann told jurors to remember the alibis that put Derris at home in bed at the time his brother was murdered.
“They want you to believe that he would have driven to crime scene undetected. Not a single person saw his vehicle in the area. Staged the crime scene as though it were a random break-in. Killed him. Shot him. Left the crime scene undetected. Went home. Then he was able to compose himself. Get dressed then go back to the crime scene. We know he didn’t do this,” Nemann said.
If convicted, Lewis faces life in prison.