Garner police find bullet casing in suspected killer’s possession

tmcdonald@newsobserver.comJuly 19, 2013 

Winston Lewis, 35.


— A 35-year-old man told police in April that he left an apartment where he and his girlfriend were arguing and that when he returned home, she had been shot.

Police then fished through his pockets and found a spent shell casing for a .357 handgun. Later, police discovered the suspected murder weapon.

Winston Lewis of Garner was charged with first-degree murder April 14 after police found Latasha R. Pierce, 36, suffering from a gunshot wound to the head in her apartment in the 800 block of Delta Street.

Pierce was taken to WakeMed in Raleigh, where she later died.

Investigators, who described the shooting as domestic-related, returned a series of search warrants to the clerk of court’s office Thursday.

Police used those warrants to seize Lewis’ mobile phone, search the apartment and obtain a DNA sample and gunshot residue from Lewis.

According to the warrants, Lewis shot Pierce, then phoned his mother to say something was wrong with Pierce and she was not breathing.

His mother had arrived at the apartment as he was dialing 911. Lewis told an emergency dispatcher that he and Pierce had been arguing, but – after a hesitation – replied “No” when the dispatcher asked whether he had shot her, according to the warrants.

He refused to answer when the dispatcher persisted in asking whether he had shot Pierce or the wound had been self-inflicted, the warrants state.

Police obtained one warrant for a DNA sample and for gunshot residue after Lewis refused to submit to a gunshot residue test. Investigators wanted to review Lewis’ mobile phone records to determine whether he called anyone other than his mother after the shooting. Police also recovered a plastic ammunition holder.

Sgt. Scott Crawford with the Garner police said investigators confiscated a .357 revolver from Lewis’ brother the day of the shooting.

Lewis remains in custody at the Wake County jail without benefit of bail, a jail spokeswoman said.

McDonald: 919-829-4533

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