LAWRENCE COUNTY, OH (WOWK) – An Ironton man has been found guilty of murdering a woman in Lawrence County, Ohio.

The Lawrence County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office says Joseph Lewis, 58, of Ironton, was convicted today, Nov. 15, 2023, on charges of murder, tampering with evidence and violation of a protective order. A sentencing hearing for Lewis has been scheduled for 1:20 p.m. Monday, Nov. 20, 2023.

The charges against Lewis stem from a Feb. 21, 2023, incident in which Lewis was allegedly found sitting next to a dead woman in an Ironton home.

At the time of Lewis’ arrest, the Ironton Police Department said officers responded to a possible drug overdose on the 100 block of South 7th St. on Tuesday. They said they knocked on the door several times and saw two people lying on the kitchen floor through a window.

Police also said they knocked on the kitchen window and were told to come in by someone inside the home. The IPD said Lewis was sitting next to a woman who appeared to have severe injuries. She was later identified as 59-year-old Jeri Crabtree and was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to the prosecutor’s office, Lewis also attempted to conceal or destroy “crucial pieces” of evidence related to the murder and also violated a court-issued protection order “meant to safeguard the victim.”