Spencer Lewis, accused in murder of 2 brothers in West Allis pleads not guilty to felony charges
MILWAUKEE — 14-year-old Spencer Lewis, who is charged as an adult in connection with the murder of two brothers in West Allis has pleaded not guilty to the charges filed against him.
Lewis faces two counts of first degree reckless homicide, use of a dangerous weapon, and one count of attempted armed robbery with use of force.
He was in court Thursday, May 4th for a status conference, and pleaded not guilty. It was determined Lewis will remain in secure custody until his next court date at the Children’s Court Center, which is set for September 8th. On that date, Lewis will have a reverse waiver hearing, as his attorney tries to get his case moved into juvenile court vs. adult court.
In late March, Lewis sobbed during his preliminary hearing as as he listened to a West Allis police detective talk about the crime. Prosecutors say the shooting of the two brothers happened during an attempted armed robbery, with Lewis intent on getting marijuana, money and video games.
Detective Todd Kurtz said Lewis told him he “got scared” during the attempted robbery and fired the gun several times, killing 17-year-old Trajan Edwards. Lewis said he felt his heart stop and his ears ring, but as he ran from the home, he ran into Edwards’ brother, 19-year-old CJ Edwards and shot him.
“Spencer Lewis said he needed money to purchase a Gucci item and other expensive clothing,” Kurtz said.
The month before the shooting, Lewis said he was depressed and even posted a picture of himself on Instagram with a knife to his own neck.
“You have to factor in the age of the defendant as far the manner in which he was thinking, the manner in which any 14-year-old thinks. The maturation is not the same as someone in their 20s, 30s, etc.,” Lewis’ attorney, Steve Kohn said.
“Yes he is 14, but he’s a 14-year-old that realizes, yes, if you’ve got two guys, you better have two weapons. He’s an individual who knew they should case the joint. He’s an individual that had the ability to come up with an escape plan,” Grant Huebner, prosecutor said.
Lewis’ attorney said he plans to try to get this case moved to children’s court.
Lewis faces two counts of first degree reckless homicide, use of a dangerous weapon and one count of attempted armed robbery, use of force. He’s charged as an adult, but so far he has appeared in children’s court.
According to a criminal complaint, police on February 12th responded to a home near 89th and Grant — where they found a shell casing on the floor as they entered, along with some blankets and a “large amount of blood.”
17-year-old Trajan Edwards was found in the living room, and taken to the hospital. He died two days later, on February 14th.
19-year-old CJ Edwards was located deceased in the kitchen.
The complaint says a fired .40 caliber Smith & Wesson casing was located near CJ Edwards’ body on the kitchen floor. A second casing and a “partial projectile with jacketing” were also found on the kitchen floor. A black polymer back strap from a firearm was found in a hallway near the entrance to the living room.
Three other casings were found in the living room, along with a hammer and a duffle bag. A “partial projectile with jacketing” was recovered from a hallway closet.
The complaint says investigators spoke with the mother of CJ and Trajan. She said on the morning of February 12th, CJ was in his bedroom in the back of the house and Trajan had a bed in the living room. The boys’ mother said over the past few months, Lewis had been coming over to the house, and he slept over at least one night. She said on February 12th, she woke up and stayed in bed watching TV, and she could hear Trajan in the living room playing video games. She said she heard Lewis come into the house and go to the bathroom. A short time later, she said she heard Trajan yell “Spencer, Spencer, what you doing man?” She then heard Lewis yell “I ain’t doing (expletive).”
A short time later, the boys’ mother said she heard “booms” and went to the living room to check the noise. She then saw Trajan grabbing his upper chest, where he was bleeding. The mother heard another shot in the kitchen and saw CJ fighting with Lewis before falling onto the ground. She then saw Lewis on top of CJ, and said it appeared as though CJ was trying to get the gun away from Lewis.
When the boys’ mother yelled to call 911, Lewis ran from the home.
First responders soon arrived.
Spencer Lewis was later arrested near 84th and Beloit after a standoff. A 13-year-old boy was also taken into custody.
According to the complaint, the 13-year-old told investigators Lewis indicated that “he had a friend that had a lot of marijuana, money and video games” and there was a plan to rob “Tra.” The 13-year-old said he and Lewis had planned the robbery for a week. He said an individual was shot during the attempted robbery, and this was “due to lack of planning.”
The 13-year-old told investigators the night before the attempted robbery and shooting, they planned to rob the victim and leave some marijuana behind so the victim couldn’t call police. The boy said he had a knife and Lewis had a firearm and two extra magazines “in case he had to reload.” The robbery didn’t occur the night before because they forgot the bag for the stolen items — and saw police in the area and “got nervous.” After considering robbing someone else from their high school, they went home as they saw more police and were “worried about getting pulled over,” the complaint says.
When they got home, the 13-year-old told investigators Lewis said they should go back to “Tra’s” house and “act like they wanted to play video games to commit the robbery.” The plan was to “get the victims to a weak spot” and then Lewis would pull the gun and demand to know where the money and weed was.
On the day of the homicide, the 13-year-old said he and Lewis woke up and the 13-year-old armed himself with a hammer, which they were going to use to “smash Tra’s fingers” or “bust his knee caps in a little” in case he “didn’t want to talk.” He said Lewis was armed with a firearm, and they went over to Tra’s house with a bag to carry away any proceeds from the robbery. The plan was when it came time to commit the robbery, Lewis would hand the 13-year-old the hammer from the couch and point the gun at Tra’s head. When Lewis pointed the gun at Tra’s head, Tra said “don’t play with me” and that’s when Lewis backed up and shot Tra, the 13-year-old said. The 13-year-old said he then ran from the house.
Police spoke with Lewis, who said he wanted to rob Trajan Edwards because he had “seen a large bag of marijuana and believed he would also have money.” He admitted they had previously planned and attempted the robbery but they aborted the plan because they were worried about police and getting pulled over while Lewis was driving his mother’s minivan without her permission.
Lewis said the 13-year-old was part of the robbery and brought a hammer in case anyone attempted to attack Lewis.
Lewis said he had a handgun — a Glock .40 with a magazine loaded with hollow tip bullets. He said he got the firearm from his father — telling investigators he stole it from his father’s house and also stole two extra magazines.
The firearm and two magazines were recovered during a search of Lewis’ home.
According to the complaint, Lewis told investigators when he and the 13-year-old got to Trajan Edwards’ home, there was a struggle when he pulled out the gun and he was worried that if Edwards got the gun he would attempt to shoot Lewis. Lewis said he “did not want to die, and that’s why he shot Trajan Edwards at least two times.” He said he “was scared and sick and didn’t want to die and he wasn’t planning on hurting anybody.” He said he “only wanted to take money and marijuana.”
Lewis said after Trajan Edwards fell down, he ran to the back of the house where he ran into CJ Edwards. He said he shot CJ “until the gun was empty” and CJ grabbed Lewis and they began to struggle in the kitchen and hallway. Lewis said he saw the boys’ mother in the hallway during the struggle — and he then ran away.
CJ Edwards died as a result of four gunshot wounds. Trajan Edwards died as a result of two gunshot wounds. CJ Edwards was pronounced dead at the scene. Trajan Edwards died at the hospital on February 14th.
Officials with the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office said the 13-year-old suspect in this case was expected to be charged in children’s court.