Lamont Deshawn Byrd was sentenced today in federal court in Raleigh, North Carolina, to serve life in prison for committing first degree murder of an Officer of the United States, announced U.S. Attorney Thomas G. Walker for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Byrd, 22, pleaded guilty on Aug. 4, 2014, to killing Warren Basco “Sneak” Lewis III with premeditation and malice on June 9, 2011. Lewis was an investigator with the Nash County Sheriff’s Office who was also a sworn special deputy United States marshal assigned to the Eastern North Carolina Regional Fugitive Task Force.
The investigation began on June 2, 2011, in Kinston, North Carolina when officers responded to a shots fired call and found homicide victim Thomas Terrell Hinton fatally shot in the chest. The investigation determined that Byrd, Kion Tyearl Dail and two additional juveniles murdered Mr. Hinton and then stole his bicycle. Murder warrants were issued for the arrest of the aforementioned individuals and law enforcement began looking for the suspects.
On June 9, 2011, Kinston officers, along with U.S. Deputy Marshals attempted to locate the suspects utilizing warrants and executed a search warrant at 602-A West Lenoir Avenue, Kinston, North Carolina. This address is a residence which has been converted into three separate apartments; one upstairs and two downstairs. Although it appeared that 602-A had been inhabited, the apartment was now empty. However, two shotguns were located. Laboratory testing revealed that Byrd had possessed the weapons. Earlier Byrd and several others had moved to Apt B downstairs.
Later that day, after developing additional information, law enforcement officers went back to the Lenoir Avenue apartments. While searching for the suspects, law enforcement officers announced their presence. As Investigator Lewis was coming down the stairs from the upstairs apartment, Byrd shot three times through the closed door, striking the deputy all three times. After realizing he had shot an officer, Byrd was heard to utter, “See what you made me do?” Byrd then handed the weapon to another individual to hide. After a 20-minute stand-off, the individuals came out. The weapon, a Berretta .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol, was found in a banker’s box in a closet, with Byrd’s DNA on it. The weapon had been stolen from a residence three weeks prior.
Investigator Lewis was transported to the hospital where he later died from his injuries.
“The death of Special Deputy Lewis is a tragedy for his family and all of us in the law enforcement community,” said U.S. Attorney Walker;
“As a key member of the Eastern North Carolina Regional Fugitive Task Force, Special Deputy U. S. Marshal Warren Lewis was a vital part of the U. S. Marshals’ family, just as he was with the Nash County Sheriff’s Office,” said Director Stacia Hylton of the U.S. Marshals Service. “Warren Lewis will always be remembered to us and the entire law enforcement community as a hero and for making the ultimate sacrifice to protect others. We hope that with this sentencing that Warren Lewis’ family can start to feel a small level of peace and closure after suffering their tragic loss.”
“Today’s sentencing is the result of a tragedy and loss of human life that was not necessary,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Wayne Dixie. “Anyone that uses a firearm to commit a violent criminal act, especially the murder of a law enforcement officer, will be held accountable for their actions. We will continue to use all of our resources to prosecute those that choose to commit this type of heinous act.”
“Law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day to protect our communities, and they deserve our respect and gratitude,” said North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper. “The death of Investigator Lewis was a tremendous loss to his family and our community and the end of this case helps bring justice.”
“The Lewis family and the State of North Carolina lost a true hero,” said Director Bill Johnson of the Kinston Department of Public Safety. “I wish to thank the many individuals and agencies for their assistance in the effort to see justice done.”
According to the plea agreement, Byrd has also pleaded guilty to murder charges in state court and is awaiting sentencing.
The investigation was conducted by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Kinston Department of Public Safety.
The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jane J. Jackson and Imelda J. Pate, Assistant District Attorney for the Eighth District.