Double-killer draws consecutive life prison terms
A Philadelphia man will spend the rest of his life in prison on charges he shot and killed two men, allegedly during a jealous rage, at a Norristown apartment building.
Obrian Stephen Lewis, 25, formerly of the 200 block of North Wilton Street, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court to two consecutive life prison terms after a jury convicted him of two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the Nov. 4, 2015, fatal shootings of Marcel Edwards and Quentin Watson Jr. at the Park Place Apartments in the 700 block of Sandy Street.
First-degreemurder is an intentional killing and carried automatic life prison terms.
Lewis also was convicted of charges of burglary, criminal trespass, simple assault, recklessly endangering other persons and possessing an instrument of crime. Judge Thomas C. Branca sentenced Lewis to an additional 14 ½ to 29 years in prison on those charges and said the sentences will run consecutively to the two life prison terms.
By imposing consecutive prison time against Lewis, the judge essentially made it more difficult for a future governor to ever commute Lewis’ sentence. If Lewis’ life sentences are ever commuted he would still have to complete the additional prison time imposed against him.
At trial, Deputy District Attorney Samantha Cauffman argued Lewis could not have been more clear in his intent to kill, given his threatening words in Facebook messages and his actions leading up to the killings. Cauffman alleged Lewis acted with a “willful, premeditated, deliberate intent to kill.”
Lewis was represented by defense lawyer John I. McMahon Jr., who argued at trial that it was a case of self-defense that went too far.
Prosecutors previously alleged the deadly shooting was the result of a home invasion sparked by jealousy over Lewis’ ex-girlfriend’s relationship with Edwards.
Edwards, 26, of Philadelphia, and Watson, 26, of Lower Providence, were found dead on the second floor of the apartment complex, located at 721 Sandy St.
According to the affida- vit of probable cause, Norristown police were dispatched to the scene at 11:12 p.m. after receiving a report of shots fired. Upon arrival, officers discovered Edwards’ body in a secondfloor hallway and Watson’s body inside an adjacent apartment. Both men had been shot multiple times.
Norristown Police Officer Miguel Montoya responded to the scene and encountered Lewis standing in the apartment complex’s Sandy Street entrance with a 4-year-old child.
“I was just attacked and I shot them,” Lewis told Montoya, according to the arrest affidavit.
Montoya asked Lewis if he was armed and Lewis replied that he had a gun in his waistband. Montoya proceeded to remove a 9 mm semi-automatic handgun froma holster in Lewis’ waistband, according to the criminal complaint. Lewis was then taken into custody, the affidavit states.
Montoya told county detectives the barrel of the gun was still hot, indicating it had recently been fired. Lewis told police he did not live at the apartment, but the mother of his 4-year-old son did, again claiming he was attacked in her apartment. The child was not injured, court papers indicate.
Norristown and county detectives interviewed the mother of the child who told them she had been involved in a tumultuous relationship with Lewis that included verbal and physical abuse. She described Lewis as “very jealous” and said he threatened to kill her during a phone conversation earlier that day, according to the criminal complaint.
The woman told investigators she had been dating Edwards on and off for several years and that Lewis “always had a problem” with Edwards.
The woman, according to court papers, told authorities Edwards and Watson were at the apartment while she was in the bedroom with her son when she heard gunfire in the hallway, interrupted by a threat from Lewis, and then addi- tional shots. The woman told detectives she hid in a closet, but was discovered by Lewis, who threatened her before striking her in the head with the gun and dragging her from the closet by her hair.
The woman reportedly struggled with Lewis and was able to break away from him and flee the apartment. Detectives observed injuries to the woman consistent with her account of the assault, court papers indicate.
Detectives recovered six 9 mm shell casings and an empty Glock 9 mm magazine inside the apartment and 14 shell casings of the same size and brand in the hallway. Four bullets or bullet fragments were recovered near the bodies, detectives alleged.
According to the arrest affidavit, ballistics evidence indicated that shots were fired into the apartment while the door was closed. There was also a shoe impression on the exterior of the door consistent with it having been kicked, detectives alleged.
Obrian Stephen Lewis arrives district court after being charged with firstdegree murder in connection to double homicide at Park Place Apartments in Norristown on Nov. 6, 2015.