At 11pm on Sunday October 11, 26-year-old Katerra Lewis and her friend went out clubbing. It was around 13 degrees but humid when they shut the door of the neat house with the sloping front yard they were temporarily sharing. Inside were six children. The eldest was eight. One month later he would be charged with the murder of one-year-old Kelci Lewis.
Police say the eight-year-old, who was the son of the friend Katerra Lewis went out clubbing with, beat Kelci to death when she wouldn’t stop crying. After returning from the nightclub around 2am, Kelci was not checked on until 10.30am the next morning when she was found unresponsive. She was pronounced dead at 11.07am.
Watch the news report below. Post continues after video.
Detroit News Time reports that Kelci Lewis suffered severe head trauma and major damage to her internal organs and that the six-year-old in the house is the prime witness. The other children in the house at the time, who were seven, six, four and two, have not been returned to their parents.
Under Alabama law, the eight-year-old boy can be tried for murder as there is no minimum age in which a child can be presumed to bear criminal responsibility. Alabama is one of 30 states with no minimum age. The boy remains in the custody of the state Department of Human Resources while Katerra Lewis has been charged with the manslaughter of her only child but is out on bail.
According to The Guardian the eight-year-old will not be charged as an adult, “but is charged with being a juvenile delinquent” and a judge will determine whether he is competent and understands the consequences of his actions before the case proceeds. But Marsha Levick, executive director of the juvenile law centre says, “I can’t imagine any other country in the world would charge an eight-year-old in a criminal-like proceeding or in a delinquency proceeding with homicide.”
While the family of Katerra Lewis say that the two women left the children with an adult before they went out, and that the truth will come out, Katerra Lewis posted on her Facebook page (that has since been shut down) "Damn dis shit hurt I never thought it would be u I'll be saying Rest in Heaven 2".
Authorities agree it is one of the saddest cases they have seen with Birmingham police spokesman Sean Edwards saying the eight-year-old is the youngest murder defendant he's been aware of in the Birmingham area.
"This is one of the most heartbreaking investigations that I have seen in over 30 years of my law enforcement career," said Birmingham Police Chief AC Roper.
"There are just too many deep rooted issues in this horrific crime. It's extremely troubling from so many different angles and there are no law enforcement answers to prevent it. We've been concerned about the kids and the future effect on their lives. The bottom line is an innocent young baby lost her life and that should be a wake-up call for our community."