IDABEL – Attorney General Mike Hunter announced a jury has convicted Ernest Lewis of first-degree murder and has been sentenced to life in prison for the 1984 murder of a co-worker.
Jurors only took 45 minutes to deliberate before reaching the unanimous verdict.
Lewis was originally charged in 1984 in the shooting death of Johnny Smith at the K.C.S. Lumber Company in Idabel. The case was later dismissed because of lack of evidence. With no additional leads, the case went cold.
Attorney General Hunter re-filed the first degree murder charges last July after the Criminal Justice Division in his office found new DNA evidence was discovered in 2011 after Smith’s body was exhumed. Investigators found the samples from the crime scene matched the DNA taken from the exhumed body.
“The successful outcome of this trial couldn’t have happened without the relentless commitment of attorneys and investigators working together to bring justice to the Smith family,” Attorney General Hunter said. “Though today’s conviction won’t bring their loved one back, I hope the family that waited all of these years for someone to be held accountable finally has the closure they deserve.
“All convictions are hard to secure, but cold cases are among the most difficult. I appreciate the great work of the attorneys and investigators in our Criminal Justice Division and agents with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation for solving this case. My office is dedicated to partnering with statewide law enforcement to handle the most challenging cases communities face.”