UPDATE: Jury finds Hiram Lewis not guilty - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Jury finds Hiram Lewis not guilty

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UPDATE:

A jury found Hiram Lewis not guilty on Wednesday.


ORIGINAL:

Trial began June 25 for a former political candidate who shot another person in the leg.

Hiram Lewis, a former candidate for U.S. Senate and West Virginia attorney general, originally was indicted in November on charges of malicious wounding, domestic assault and wanton endangerment involving a firearm.

Another indictment later was filed, keeping the charges of domestic assault and malicious wounding but dropping the wanton endangerment involving a firearm charge.

Lewis was arrested in June after he shot Steven Bogart in the leg. Lewis asserts the shooting was in self defense after Bogart tried to break into his home.

Clay County prosecutor Jim Samples said it all started with an argument between the two men.

"Finally, Mr. Lewis had all he could take," Samples said, adding that Lewis stood over him, taunting him with the gun after the shooting.

"That man — Hiram Lewis is guilty," Samples said, pointing at Lewis.  

Lewis' attorney Herb Hively said Lewis met Bogart on the side of the road, when moving stuff into his new house.

Hively said Lewis let Bogart stay in his house in exchange for fixing the place up.

Hively said Bogart fixed things around the house but got increasingly violent after his supply of marijuana and alcohol depleted.

The argument started, Hively continued in his opening statements, when Bogart grabbed Lewis by the arm and upon getting away, Lewis locked himself in one of the bedrooms.

Hively said Bogart tied the doors together to keep him from coming out.

After he got out, Lewis then locked the door to the screen porch, where Lewis maintains Bogart was staying.

Hively said Bogart then kicked the door down and charged in. He said even after he was shot, Bogart lunged at Lewis.

Additionally, Hively said in his opening arguments that Bogart has changed his story three times.

The state called its first witness, former Clay County Sheriff Randy Holcomb. Holcomb testified that when he first got to the residence, he saw Lewis pacing inside the screen porch and Bogart was on the outside deck.  

"Mr. Bogart was shouting, ‘I'm shot. I'm shot. He's got a gun,'" Holcomb recalled, later adding. "Lewis was going back and forth in a panic. … The music was playing. I was screaming, the victim was screaming."

Holcomb additionally testified that as soon as Lewis saw him, he "dove belly-first on the floor."

In cross examination, Hively asked Holcomb if he might have done this because Holcomb told him to get on the ground.

Holcomb answered that he didn't tell him to do that until he came out on the deck.  

Lewis later came out with his hands up, Holcomb testified.

"He seen me but it's like he didn't see me," Holcomb said, adding that Lewis kept fooling around with his jacket.

Holcomb testified there was a blood path leading from the kitchen to the deck.

The state then called its next witness, Brian Young, the lead investigator in the case. Young testified he saw Hiram standing in front of the screened porch, holding something in his hands.

"He had an object and he was focused on it— distracted by it," Young said, later adding that Lewis dropped the item when he was aware of Holcomb's presence.

Young explained that police had taken two statements from Lewis that day. Attorneys played both the video and audio statement.

In the audio statement, Lewis said Bogart threatened to kill him "at least 10 times a day" and said Bogart attacked him in the bedroom, locked the door and then busted down the door to the house.

"I told him, ‘I can't believe you made me do this. You should have listened to me. That's rule No. 1. You have to do what I say when you're here,'" Lewis said in the statement.

Samples later asked if the door appeared to be kicked in. Young answered that it did and there was a slight boot print on the door.

Later, Young added that Lewis also had a pair of boots beside the door that could have caused the boot print. When asked in cross examination if a witness saw Lewis kick in the door, he said there wasn't one. He additionally answered that Bogart did not say Lewis kicked in the door.

Young additionally testified that when he interviewed Bogart in the hospital, he told him he was living in the second bedroom in the house, not on the screen porch.

"He described various articles of clothing and cologne in the bathroom," Young said, later noting that police found Bogart's clothes and his cologne inside the house.

Young also testified that he did not find any rope that would have tied the door shut.

In cross examination, Hively asked if the clothes would have fit Lewis but Young responded they would have been baggy. He also asked if Lewis specifically said the door was tied shut with a rope and Young responded that he said it was tied.

Later, Hively asked about different stories Bogart gave to police. Hively said the first time, Bogart told him Lewis was mad because his girlfriend didn't come over and then shot him. Young said Bogart said that was one of the reasons Lewis was angry.

Hively then asked about the second statement where Bogart said they were arguing over money to fund Lewis' business venture. Young confirmed that he did say that.

"In either of those statements, does he ever say Mr. Lewis stood over him to taunt him," Hively asked.

Young responded that Bogart told him that Lewis kept placing stuff beside him while he was on the porch but later said Bogart did not say Lewis taunted him.   

Trial continues at 9 a.m. June 26.