Dexter Lewis target of death penalty bid for Fero's killing, affidavit describes horrific scene
Update: Earlier this week, after Joseph and Lynell Hill pleaded guilty in the murder of five people at Fero's Bar & Grill (see our previous coverage below), observers speculated that pressure was building on Dexter Lewis, also charged in the case, to make a deal as well. But that may never have been an option. The Denver District Attorney's Office is seeking the death penalty for Lewis -- the first time it has done so in more than a decade. An original arrest affidavit argues for such prosecution via a vivid depiction of a horrific crime. Continue to see the document and more.
Photos, videos below.
The affidavit is in the name of Joseph Hill, but Denver DA's office spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough tells us it's otherwise identical to the one for Lewis.
Early on the morning of October 17, according to the doc's narrative, Denver police arrived at Fero's, 357 South Colorado Boulevard, after firefighters had already entered the premises and found five bodies later identified as Daria Pohl, Young Fero, Ross Richter, Teresa Beesley and Kellene Fallon. The victims were removed from the structure and placed on the sidewalk area in front of the business as the fire was addressed.
The scene of the crime.
Investigators quickly determined that the blaze had been intentionally set, with an accelerant having been used to feed it.
There was evidence aplenty inside, but what really broke open the case was a call from an informant. The man is unidentified in the affidavit, but at a status hearing yesterday, he was divulged to be Demarea Harris, who turns out to have been both a friend of Joseph Hill and Lewis, as well as an informant for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
That Harris has been publicly identified in such a violent case at this stage qualifies as a surprise, especially given a subsequent revelation from the affidavit: He told police that he was on the scene when the killings took place. Moreover, he maintains that what may have seemed like a robbery gone wrong was actually a semi-targeted assassination in which theft was more a byproduct than a primary motive.
Harris told cops he'd gone to Fero's with Lewis and the Hills, traveling there in a vehicle that had contained a couple of masks -- one depicting Iron Man, the other the Incredible Hulk, 7News reports.
Upon their arrival, Harris said the Hills stayed in the car while he and Lewis went inside, ordered some food and shot some pool. He added that Lewis was apparently familiar with two of the women -- Fero, the venue's owner, among them -- and was mad at them for "reasons that [he] was unclear about," the document states. In court yesterday, though, Harris testified that Fero had once kicked Lewis out of the bar, and the other woman had expelled him and his girlfriend from their apartment.
The courtroom where yesterday's hearing took place.
A short time later, Harris said he went to the bathroom, and when he returned, the Hills were inside, disguised by the masks, and the five other people in the bar were on the floor, being held at gunpoint. Joseph demanded identification and credit cards, and when the male patron -- Richter -- "appeared to refuse to comply," he became upset and used a knife also in his possession to stab him several times in the back and side. He then allegedly gave the knife to Lewis, who stabbed two of the women on the floor, with Joseph joining in and helping to stab the others to death as well.
Continue for more about the decision to charge Dexter Lewis with the death penalty for the Fero's Bar & Grill murders, including more photos, videos and documents.