An Oklahoma man convicted of a 2013 Columbia murder was sentenced to life in prison without parole Friday.
A jury in February convicted Casey Lewis of first degree murder in the murder-for-hire killing of Brian Daniels in south Columbia. Friday was the two year anniversary of Daniels’ death.
Friday, Lewis’ lawyer argued for a new trial. He said there was no murder weapon found or any physical evidence linking Lewis to the crime scene or linking him to Daniels. He said all evidence used in the trial was based on hearsay statements made by James Thompson, Glen Anderson and Lewis. But Judge Gary Oxenhandler disagreed and denied the motion.
A separate jury also found Thompson guilty in January for the murder, after the state argued Thompson hired Lewis as a hit man. Thompson was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole last month.
Anderson was charged with hindering prosecution of a felony and has pleaded not guilty. His trail has not been set.
Daniels’ family was not in court Friday, but wrote an impact statement for the judge to consider when choosing the sentence.
“Mr. Daniels had had significant injuries as the result of a fire from several years and had mental health issues, schizophrenia,” Boone County Assistant Prosecutor Stephanie Morrell said. “And so he had had a difficult life. And to have someone like Mr. Thompson come into his life and take advantage of that, and then for someone like Mr. Lewis to ultimately be brought in to take his life, how difficult that was for the family.”
Lewis’ defense lawyer Justin Carver told Abc 17 News they were disappointed with the outcome of Friday’s sentencing and the verdict the jury delivered in February. He said they plan to appeal the conviction.