Tyrone Lewis, convicted of first-degree murder in the 2011 shooting of Alexandria community activist Lenny Harris, was sentenced in Prince George’s County, Md., court Friday to life in prison without parole, plus 120 years, according to The Washington Post.
Through tearful testimony, Harris’ widow asked the judge to give Lewis the maximum sentence.
“I have lost my husband of 19 years, my best friend, the father of my daughter, my hero, my confidant,” Deborah Harris said, according to The Post.
Harris expanded on her family’s suffering after her husband’s death, saying she lost the family home in Del Ray and that her daughter dropped out of college because of the grief.
She also revealed that she lost a son to gun violence 17 years ago.
Lenny Harris, 53, went missing in Alexandria in Sept. 21, 2011. After a months-long search, his body was found in a Fort Washington, Md., well on Jan. 26, 2012.
During court proceedings in September, prosecutors said Lewis and two other men mistakenly thought Harris was a wealthy man.
According to testimony, the three men kidnapped Harris and later shot him in the back of the head as he begged for his life.
Lewis' co-defendant, Linwood Johnson, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, robbery with a deadly weapon and related charges. Johnson and the case’s third defendant, Ivan Johnson, have not been sentenced. Both accepted plea deals.
Johnson testified that Lewis decided to rob Harris because he needed bail money for a friend, according to The Post. Johnson said that Harris, who had his own pest-control business and a T-shirt company named “Mycha” after his daughter, was able to produce only $50 when he was abducted.
Frustrated with the way things played out, Lewis directed the group to an abandoned house and shot Harris in the back of the head, Johnson testified.
A graduate of T.C. Williams High School and one-time business owner on Mount Vernon Avenue, Harris was active in local politics and community issues. He founded the nonprofit Operation H.O.P.E. that presented the annual One Love Community Festival. Each year, Harris outfitted in-need kids at the festival with new backpacks and classroom supplies.
In October, Alexandria City Council approved the naming of a park in honor of Lenny Harris.
Lewis, 28, was on probation for robbery when Harris was killed. He has since been charged in killings from 2005 and one from a few weeks after Harris’ death.
Lewis denied any involvement in the killing Friday and plans to appeal the conviction, according to The Post.
“It’s a surreal situation,” Lewis said. “I’ve lost my life for something that I really didn’t do.”