Casey Lewis prepares for trial in the death of Brian Daniels
COLUMBIA - A trial starts Monday in the case of Casey Lewis who is accused of committing first degree murder in the death of Brian Daniels. Investigators said Lewis was hired by James Thompson to kill his lover, Brian Daniels, as part of a million-dollar scam. Thompson has already been convicted in the death.
The facts from the probable cause statement include the following:
On April 10, 2013 at 7 p.m. James Thompson called 911 saying there had been a break in at 2416 Cimarron Drive in Columbia. Thompson said he found the rear door kicked in and Brian Daniels lying on the floor suffering from obvious wounds.
When officers arrived the victim was found dead. The autopsy showed there were three gunshot wounds.
Investigators found evidence that Thompson stole property from Daniels and sold it and that Thompson forged a will indicating Daniels had assigned him as the beneficiary. Daniels had been awarded 2.8 million dollars in a structured settlement in 2008.
A friend of Thompson, Christopher Hurt, told investigators Thompson went to Oklahoma several days prior to the murder to pick up someone named Casey. Hurt said he saw Lewis and Thompson together the night of April 9, 2013 on two separate occasions.
Investigators received a Crime Stoppers tip that a "male from out of town" was seen with James Thompson on April 9, 2013 at Thompson's father's house. The person also reported that Thompson gave this person a vehicle to leave town with. Hurt said on April 11, 2013 he asked Thompson where Lewis was and Thompson replied, "Can you really ask that with a straight face."
There are phone records between Lewis and Thompson on April 8th, 9th, and 10th of 2013. Police said those records show Thompson was in Oklahoma on April 8, 2013.
Detectives located Lewis on May 22, 2013 in Coal County, Oklahoma where he was questioned. The probable cause statement said Lewis told police he had gone to Columbia with Thompson. Lewis said he was with Thompson on April 9, 2013 but left at midnight. Investigators said cell phone locations prove otherwise,with data from cell towers showing Lewis was still in Columbia at 4:14 a.m. on April 10, 2013. The tower the cell phone connected with is near the scene of the murder. The state said it believes the murder was committed during early morning hours on April 10, 2013.
The probable cause statement said:
"Casey Lewis had been arrested on unrelated charges in Coal County, Oklahoma on April 26, 2013. At the time of his arrest, he was driving a Pontiac Grand Prix belonging to James Thompson. Lewis said Thompson gave him the car as payment for work. Lewis said Thompson came to Oklahoma and picked him up, drove him back to Columbia, Missouri, and gave him the car on April 9th, 2013. Lewis told investigators that he left Columbia, Missouri at midnight on April 9th. This is known to be untrue based on cell phone tower location information."
Oklahoma investigator Jeral Bailey said he recovered a .45 caliber handgun in a bag with other items, including clothing. Bailey said he recovered the bag hidden under a tree at the edge of a field adjacent to Lewis' aunt's house.
Detectives reviewed Pontotoc County, Oklahoma jail calls between Lewis' aunt and his sister, who was in jail. The calls took place the day after Daniels' death. During the conversation Lewis' aunt told his sister Lewis had a car his friend let him borrow and money to use to hire Staci Lewis an attorney. The records show the aunt then went on to tell Staci Lewis that her brother had done a little work for someone, and had money from the job. On April 26, 2013 the aunt informed Staci Lewis of her brother's arrest on Oklahoma charges. The aunt told Lewis' sister she thought he had a .45 gun in the trunk of the car.
On April 13, 2013, James Thompson was arrested for the murder of Brian Daniels. Thompson communicated with family members during his visitations and jail calls. During the encounters, he did not name Lewis, but instead referred to the hit man as the brother of Staci Lewis or the son of Robert Lewis. When Investigators dove deeper they realized Casey Lewis was connected to both people.
The first time Casey Lewis' name was mentioned during phone calls between Thompson and his own sister, Jenniva Leon, was June 15, 2013 when she said, "they already got Casey."
Another friend of Thompson's, Glen Anderson, admitted to providing him a false alibi. He later told police Thompson told him he paid Casey Lewis to kill Brian Daniels. Then he stated Thompson mentioned paying Lewis cash, giving him a .45 handgun and a car for committing the murder. Anderson then went on to say Lewis shot Daniels three times and preformed an Indian ritual over the body. Anderson stated Thompson and Lewis made the scene look as if someone had broken into the residence.
In July 2013, officers arrested Lewis in connection with the murder of Brian Daniels.
On January 16, 2015, Thompson was found guilty for hiring a hit man to kill Daniels. The Boone County jury convicted Thompson of first-degree murder.
Lewis is also charged with first degree murder for the death of Daniels. He was being held on a $1 million cash-only bond at the jail in the Coal County, Oklahoma but has since been moved to the Boone County Jail.