Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rapist, murderer of coed sentenced to life plus 42 years in Nashville

A man who raped, robbed, then killed a Tennessee State University student was sentenced to life without parole plus 42 years yesterday in a Nashville, TN courtroom. Deshaun Lewis was convicted of 1st degree felony murder, especially aggravated robbery, and aggravated rape.  18-year-old Raquel Johnson was killed after Lewis robbed her car, with her body found not far away from the school that she was attending. Judge Steve Dozier sentenced Lewis to 20 years for robbery, 22 years for rape, and 51 to life for murder, ordering the sentences to be served consecutively and in full.

Prosecutors contended that Lewis took the girl to the home for a planned robbery. Prosecutors said Johnson was beaten, robbed and raped. Her car was stolen as well.

A key piece of evidence in the trial was testimony from Lewis' former girlfriend who told police that he had forced her at gunpoint to tell police that she had seen someone else driving the victim's stolen car a few days after the murder. Prosecutors also had relied on physical evidence, including Lewis' bloody hand prints, left at the crime scene. Attorneys for the defendant had claimed the evidence simply didn't add up.

The victim's mother, Maria Johnson said that while she has forgiven Lewis, that he needed to be punished to the fullest extent of the law so that others would not be hurt by him.

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