COLUMBIA — Members of the Hobson family and members of the Lewis family looked on as co-defendant Lee Carter testified for the defense in the trial of Tony Lewis on Thursday.
Carter pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery and armed criminal action for his role in the murder of Aaron Hobson. Hobson was shot in the parking lot of the Break Time convenience store at 110 E. Nifong Blvd. on Oct. 23, 2010.
- Tony Lavelle Lewis, of Boonville, is being tried for second-degree murder and second-degree robbery in connection with the 2010 shooting death of Aaron Hobson.
- Hobson, of Wichita, Kan., was beaten, robbed and shot in the parking lot of the Break Time convenience store at 110 E. Nifong Blvd. on Oct. 23, 2010. He was 22.
- Lewis is one of eight defendants charged in connection with this case.
- Six of the defendants, including Carter, have pleaded guilty to charges stemming from Hobson’s murder. Darris Peal, the only other defendant to go to trial, was found guilty of second-degree murder.
In testimony, Carter described his actions that night. He said that he and friends were at the Peachtree Catering & Banquet Center and then made their way to the Break Time parking lot.
Carter can be identified on surveillance footage from the convenience store. He was asked to watch the footage, mark his position in the film and describe what was going on minute-by-minute.
When Boone County Chief Prosecutor Dan Knight asked why Carter had joined in the action, Carter replied that he thought he was helping friends in a fight.
“I thought there was going to be some kind of altercation,” Carter said. He testified that he did not know that anyone in the group had a gun or planned to kill Hobson.
Carter also testified that he didn’t believe that a robbery occurred.
“I didn’t see anyone take any money,” he said.
Knight questioned this belief under cross-examination, pointing out to Carter that he had pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery.
Carter responded by saying, “I was told that I would receive the murder charge if I did not plead out.”
Knight called into question the reliability of Carter’s testimony by bringing up Carter's criminal record and self-interest in describing the incident as being a fight, not a robbery.
Carter also testified that the first time he saw Tony Lewis was in a newscast.
“The people that they had as suspects, I didn’t know them,” Carter said. “I didn’t think that they were involved.” He was speaking about Lewis, who he testified wasn’t involved in the incident.
Surveillance footage shows that Lewis was at least near Hobson's car when the murder occurred.
Columbia Police Department patrol officer Wendy Stokes testified about a gun that she recovered from the parking lot of Providence Urgent Care, only a few hundred feet away from the Break Time, months after the murder. The gun was not the same caliber as the weapon used to shoot Hobson, so it was never associated with the case. Defense attorney Jennifer Bukowsky discovered the existence of the gun in December, and accused the Police Department of mishandling the evidence.
Stokes testified that she recovered the gun from the parking lot and reported it to the major crimes unit as procedure calls for.
It is still not clear if the gun played any role in the events surrounding Hobson’s murder.