COLUMBIA — Tony Lewis' defense rested Friday night, after a day of gripping witness testimony.
Lewis, 28, of Boonville is being tried on charges of second-degree murder and second-degree robbery for his role in the 2010 killing of Aaron Hobson.
- Tony 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 Anthony 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.
Daron Peal and Anthony Carr, both 25, have both been sentenced for their own roles in the killing. Both men testified about Lewis on Friday, denying that he had a role.
Peal, believed to be the man who shot Hobson, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and armed criminal action in July 2011. He received a 45-year prison sentence. On Friday, he testified about the details of the night Hobson was shot.
Peal said he arrived at the Break Time gas station that night just as cars and people began to converge from a nearby party that was being broken up. Once there, Peal said he confronted Hobson and that he was involved in the attack.
“I grabbed him,” Peal said. “Put the gun to his head; I hit him with it.”
Peal testified that the attack began after one of Peal’s friends said to him, “Them dudes right there been pointing at me.”
Peal testified that his brother Darris Peal, along with Lee Carter, Patrick Marshall and Deshon Houston were the people who participated in the physical attack on Hobson.
Peal said that the first time he heard of Lewis was after seeing news reports of the murder, “When we looked it up on the Internet the next day.”
Peal had previously served time in prison with Leo Roland, another defendant in the Hobson murder case. Roland is a cousin of Lewis, but Peal testified he had never met Lewis before.
Carr, the other defendant to testify Friday, previously pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery and is serving 10 years for his involvement in Hobson’s death.
Carr testified Friday that he was in close proximity to the victim’s car when the attack began. “When I turned around, I just saw everybody rush the car.”
Then “Daron pulled a gun,” Carr said. After that Carr heard shots ring out and ran.
Carr said he did not see Lewis touch money or Hobson the night of the shooting. When asked the first time he had met Lewis, Carr said, “I met him in Boone County Jail,” after both Carr and Lewis had been arrested for the murder.
During cross-examination, Boone County Prosecutor Dan Knight played surveillance footage from inside the Break Time, minutes after the murder. Carr enters the Break Time and then can be heard saying, “I beat the n------, I beat the n-----.”
Carr and Peal both testified that the action resulting in Hobson’s death was a fight, not a robbery.
Knight fired back, “You all talked about how if anyone got caught up on this, you all were gonna say it’s just a fight.”
Knight said that Carr and Peal thought that by saying a fight had occurred, rather than a robbery, several people would escape murder charges.
Knight suggested both Peal and Carr were members of the Louie Bound gang, a gang based in St. Louis. Both men denied the claim.
Closing arguments in Lewis’ trial will begin Saturday morning.