State Will Retry Father On Manslaughter Charge

A father who prosecutors say was negligent in the death of his 3-year-old son will be retried on those charges.

On Monday a jury in the case against Robert Lewis was deadlocked on involuntary manslaughter, failure to properly store a firearm to protect a minor and contributing to the delinquency of a minor charges.

The same jury found the former police officer guilty of possessing a homemade silencer and he was sentenced to 13 to 16 months in prison.

His three year old son Tyler found a loaded handgun in his Onslow County home in 2009 and shot himself in the head.

District Attorney Ernie Lee says he consulted with his assistants today before making the decision to retry the case. Lee says the retrial is tentatively set for August.

His conviction on the silencer charge will not be affected by the retrial.


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A father will have to serve at least 13 months in prison after a jury found him guilty on one charge, while they were deadlocked on three others.

Robert Lewis was charged with involuntary manslaughter, possessing a weapon of mass destruction, contributing to the delinquency of a child and improper storage of a firearm to protect minors.

His three year old son Tyler found a loaded handgun in his Onslow County home in 2009 and shot himself in the head.

The jury did find Lewis guilty of possessing a weapon on mass destruction, while the judge ordered a mistrial on the other charges.

On the stand Lewis admitted he made a homemade silencer for one of his guns.

Jurors began deliberations Thursday afternoon. This morning they told Judge Charles Henry they were deadlocked 8-4 on three of the charges. They told the judge they had been that way since Friday morning and all said they didn't think they can come down with a unanimous verdict.

At the time of the shooting Lewis was a civilian police officer at Camp Lejeune.

Judge Henry sentenced Lewis to a minimum of 13 months and a maximum 16 months in prison. He also recommended Lewis undergo psychiatric counseling.

The judge also raised his bond from $10,000 unsecured to $100,000 secured.

District Attorney Ernie Lee told WITN News that he will decide later this week whether Lewis will be retried on the other charges.



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A judge has put jury deliberations on hold for the weekend, in the case against the father charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of his young son.

28-year-old Robert Lewis took the stand in his own defense Thursday. The Jury was handed the case Thursday afternoon.

Throughout the day on Friday, jurors went over the case. Before lunch the jury asked to see the "proof of sale" of the firearm and after lunch the jury asked about the charge" improper storage of a firearm to protect minors."

Superior Judge Charles Henry brought jurors back into the courtroom and re-read what must be proved in each particular charge.

Lewis is charged with involuntary manslaughter, in the accidental death of his 3-year-old son, Tyler in 2009.

Tyler shot himself with a loaded gun that Lewis claims was on an entertainment center in his home.

Lewis is also charged with weapons of mass destruction, contributing to the delinquency of a child and improper storage of a firearm to protect minors.

PREVIOUS STORY:
Jurors Friday morning resumed deliberations whether a former civilian police officer at a Marine Corps air station was responsible for his young son shooting himself.

Robert Lewis is charged with involuntary manslaughter, contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile and failing to secure a firearm from a minor.

Jurors got the case around 3:40 p.m. Thursday and Superior Judge Charles Henry sent them home at 5:00 p.m.

Onslow County deputies say back in November 16th, 2009 Tyler Lewis died shortly after shooting himself in the family's Rutherford Way home.

Lewis was a civilian police officer at the New River Air Station when the shooting happened.

On the stand Thursday morning, Lewis said he put the Glock pistol on top of the entertainment center the night before as he typically did. Lewis said the gun was for protection for his family.

Lewis told jurors if he knew his son was a climber he would have found another location for the gun.

After his testimony the defense rested its case.

In closing arguments, the state said Lewis broke a promise not to have a loaded or unloaded gun within reach of a child. But Lewis' lawyer told jurors the state should not have brought this case to trial under these circumstances.

If convicted Lewis faces up to eight years in prison.


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The mother of a child who died after he found his father's loaded gun broke down on the witness stand Wednesday morning as she recounted her son's death.

Robert Lewis is charged with involuntary manslaughter, contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile and failing to secure a firearm from a minor. Deputies say back in November 16th, 2009 Tyler Lewis died shortly after shooting himself in the family's Rutherford Way home.
Lewis was a civilian police officer at the New River Air Station when the shooting happened.

The trial at the Onslow County Courthouse entered its second day of testimony Wednesday.

Kim Lewis testified that her husband kept guns in cases and that they discussed safety procedures with the weapons. The mother told jurors she believes her husband was safe with the guns in the home and doesn't know how her son got the handgun that day. She said her husband typically stored that gun on top of an entertainment center that is about seven feet high, so high even she couldn't reach the top.

Lewis told jurors she and her husband are legally separated because of the tragedy.

The mother says when deputies arrived, she was told she couldn't go with the ambulance until she signed a form. Lewis says she signed the form without reading it, and it turned out to be a consent form to search the entire house.

A crime scene investigator testified when he went into the home's recreational room, which is next to the boy's room, he took pictures of rifles and other weapons in the room. He said there were rifles leaning up against the wall and ammunition on the ground.

The investigator told jurors there was no special lock hanging on the door to secure the room.


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Testimony has begun in the trial for a father charged with leaving a handgun within reach of his toddler son, who accidentally killed himself more than a year ago.

Jurors were selected Tuesday morning in the trial for Robert Lewis. Onslow County deputies charged the 28-year-old man with involuntary manslaughter, contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile and failing to secure a firearm from a minor. Deputies say back in November 16th, 2009 Tyler Lewis died shortly after shooting himself in the family's Rutherford Way home.

Lewis was a civilian police officer at the New River Air Station when the shooting happened.

In opening statements, prosecutors told jurors this was a tragedy that could have been prevented. Lewis' lawyer says it was an accident and their client did not know his son would be left unsupervised to get the gun. The lawyer says Lewis will testify in the case.


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