Jury finds Wallace Lewis guilty of murder
By Justin Wier
After about four hours of deliberation, a jury found Wallace Lewis guilty of stabbing a man to death.
Lewis, 28, of Steel Street, was convicted of murder, felonious assault and tampering with evidence in the Aug. 10, 2016, death of Howard Ramey, 53.
The verdict came in Thursday afternoon in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, presided over by Judge Maureen Sweeney. A sentencing date has not been set.
Police found Ramey in a fruit cellar in the basement of his Palmer Avenue home on the South Side with his arms and legs bound and 25 stab wounds to his head and neck.
Lewis sold drugs from Ramey’s house in exchange for providing Ramey with crack cocaine, police said.
Ramey’s daughter testified her father got into an argument with Lewis, who wanted Ramey to pay $30 for the crack cocaine.
The jury heard from Wallace’s co-defendants, Calvin Shelton, 28, and Felicia Ward, 25, both of whom are serving four-year sentences on kidnapping charges for their involvement in Ramey’s death.
They aided in tying Ramey up, but said Lewis wielded the knife used to kill Ramey.
Defense Atty. David Eng-ler claimed Shelton and Ward decided to frame Lewis in exchange for reduced prison sentences, but the jury ultimately sided with prosecutors.
Lewis and Ward later sold the sofa and couch in Ramey’s home to a friend of Ward’s while Ramey’s body remained in the basement, which yielded the tampering with evidence charge.
The murder conviction carries a mandatory sentence of 15 years to life in prison. Any sentence for the felonious assault charge would run concurrent to that, but the tampering charge could add an additional three years to his prison term.