Convicted N.Y. killer Is FREED on a technicality: He was being held in the wrong prison

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A father of three was gunned down on a Rochester, N.Y. street in 2015. Now, his convicted murderer is free — because law enforcement accidentally put the man in the wrong prison.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office confirmed in a statement Terrence Lewis’ vacated conviction and release from Five Points Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison in Romulus, N.Y., earlier this month.

Statement From Officials

In the statement, the New York sheriff’s office said Lewis was walking out on a murder conviction because law enforcement had inadvertently violated the anti-shuttling provision of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Law.

Sheriff Todd K. Baxter said in the statement that the decision to let a murderer go free based on a technicality ‘violates the principles of justice,’ and demonstrates a ‘lack of fairness.’

What Law Implies to This Case

The federal law, approved by Congress in 1970, notes that once a prisoner has been moved to the state of the pending indictment, that case ‘must be completely disposed of (including any trial and sentencing, according to some courts) prior to returning the prisoner.’

As in The Case of Lewis

But that’s not what happened when Lewis, who was already serving a sentence in a federal prison in Pennsylvania for unrelated crimes, and was indicted for Johnny Washington’s murder more than two years after the shooting, Monroe County Supreme Court Judge Stephen T. Miller reportedly ruled in a Feb. 5 decision.

In January 2018 – two months after the second-degree murder indictment was filed in Monroe County – Lewis was transported from USP Allenwood in Pennsylvania, a high-security federal penitentiary, to New York’s Monroe County Jail, where he was arraigned in local court on the murder charge, per the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office office, who included a timeline of events in their statement.

It Was Pending

Four months later, that May, Lewis returned to Allenwood, Pa., while the murder charge remained pending in New York

The sheriff’s office noted that it is their ‘traditional practice’ to ‘return the incarcerated individual to his ‘’home’’ correctional facility,’ and that the sheriff’s office was simply following their normal procedures.

READ ALSO: Their daughter, 21, killed herself in a youth prison AFTER inmates targeted her for being middle class and a ‘snob’

If We Were to Go With Federal Law

But per federal law, Lewis should have remained in New York until the case was closed. Lewis’s trip back to Allenwood, Pa., constituted a breach of the law, the New York judge determined earlier this month.

Court Ruling Over The Murder Case

In July 2018, Lewis had returned to New York for his murder trial, staying in the custody of the Monroe County Jail for the legal proceedings. In October 2018, he was convicted of murder in the second degree and sentenced to 22 years to life.

Lewis returned to Pennsylvania that December, finished his federal sentence at the high-security prison there, and in October 2020 began officially serving time on the murder conviction in a New York State Department of Corrections facility.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said they were first made aware that the interstate prison mix-up might lead to Lewis’s release at the beginning of this year.

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Ola Alabi
Ola Moses is a certified writer, He writes technically and creatively. He is the CEO of WORDSWORTH, a house where writing is made easier for all. He is a content creator at EsB TV, since 2019. He is a young man that showcases professionalism in all that he does, he was announced as Child and Green Foundation Person of the Year 2018, one of his many lists of honours.

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