Appealed from the First Judicial District Court for the
Parish of Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 338, 903 Honorable
Katherine C. Dorroh, Judge
LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT By: Edward K. Bauman Counsel for
E. STEWART, SR. District Attorney, JASON W. WALTMAN TRENISHA
J. HILL TOMMY J. JOHNSON Assistant District Attorneys Counsel
MOORE, PITMAN, and STEPHENS, JJ.
convicted Defendant Cameron Lewis of second degree murder.
The trial court sentenced him to the mandatory sentence of
life imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of parole,
probation or suspension of sentence. For the following
reasons, we affirm Defendant's conviction and sentence.
April 14, 2016, a grand jury charged Defendant by indictment
with second degree murder in violation of La. R.S. 14:30.1,
alleging that on February 22, 2016, he murdered Bryan Savage.
November 3, 2016, Defendant filed a motion to suppress
recorded and unrecorded statements he gave to law enforcement
officers on the grounds that they were not freely and
voluntarily given, that the officers did not fully and
adequately advise him of his constitutional rights and that
they were made as a result of improper promises and
inducements. On June 22, 2017, the trial court conducted a
free and voluntary hearing, finding that Defendant's
statements were freely and voluntarily made after he was
advised of his rights, and denied the motion to suppress
November 3, 2016, Defendant filed a motion to suppress
evidence. He sought to suppress items seized from a Honda
Accord, which belonged to his wife Sanchasity Lewis, on the
grounds that law enforcement officers did not have consent to
search, the items were not in plain view, the search was not
incident to an arrest and no exigent circumstances existed.
Defendant argued that the subsequent search warrant was
defective because it was secured after the search had begun;
and, therefore, any evidence seized pursuant to the warrant
should have been excluded. A hearing on the motion to
suppress was held on November 14, 2017. On January 10, 2018,
the trial court denied the motion to suppress.
trial began on January 8, 2018. Cpl. Eric Mayes of the Caddo
Parish Sheriff's Office testified that between 5:30 and
6:00 a.m. in the morning on February 22, 2016, he responded
to a call about a suspicious vehicle on Woolworth Road. He
drove up to a white Chevy Avalanche, which was parked on the
side of Woolworth Road. The driver of the Avalanche drove
away, and he followed and initiated a traffic stop. He
approached the driver, whom he identified in court as
Defendant. Defendant advised that he was parked on the side
of the road because he was having a problem with his vehicle.
Cpl. Mayes requested Defendant's driver's license,
proof of insurance and proof of registration. Defendant
produced his State of Louisiana identification card and a
proof of registration and then searched the Avalanche for his
proof of insurance. At this time, Cpl. Mayes heard sirens and
observed fire vehicles driving on Woolworth Road. His partner
then arrived at the scene of the traffic stop, and Cpl. Mayes
asked Defendant to exit his vehicle. While Cpl. Mayes spoke
with his partner, Defendant drove away. Cpl. Mayes and his
partner engaged in a high-speed pursuit of Defendant's
vehicle but called off the pursuit when Defendant's
vehicle was no longer in sight. The traffic stop and
Defendant's flight were recorded by the camera in Cpl.
Mayes's vehicle, and video of this recording was
introduced into evidence and played for the jury. Cpl. Mayes
testified that he was then informed of a fire at the house on
Woolworth Road where he had responded to the call about the
suspicious vehicle. He reported to the house and learned that
there was a deceased person inside. He noted that the middle
portion of the house had collapsed on itself, that there was
fire and water damage on the inside of the house and that the
deceased was lying on the floor of the living room.
Brian Michael of the Shreveport Police Department testified
that on the evening of February 22, 2016, he came upon an
abandoned white Ford truck at a park. He discovered that the
truck was a stolen vehicle and was involved in a homicide
investigation. He obtained a search warrant for the truck and
remained with it until the crime scene unit arrived.
Jason Saiz of the Shreveport Police Department testified that
at approximately 1:00 a.m. on February 23, 2016, he received
a message from dispatchers that suspects in a homicide were
possibly at a hotel in the Shreveport area and were driving a
white Avalanche. He discovered a white Avalanche parked at
the Merryton Inn. Officers determined that the VIN matched
that of the Avalanche involved in the homicide investigation.
Marlon Clark of the Shreveport Police Department testified
that on February 23, 2016, he responded to the Merryton Inn.
He stated that Defendant, Amanda Williams and Sanchasity
Lewis had been taken into custody and that officers searched
the hotel rooms they had occupied. Under the mattress in
Amanda's room, officers found a sock containing foreign
and commemorative coins. In Defendant and Sanchasity's
room, officers found a key to a Honda vehicle. Det. Clark
located a green Honda Accord in the parking lot of the hotel,
determined that the key worked for that vehicle and impounded
it. He noted that Defendant and Sanchasity were married and
owned the Accord. Det. Clark testified that he went to the
impound yard at the crime lab to investigate the Accord and a
white Ford F250, which was the victim's work truck.
Sanchasity gave written consent for a search of the Accord.
Within its driver's side door, officers found a key to
the F250. Also within the Accord, officers found a bag with
bottles of medication with the victim's name on them, a
wallet and a small caliber bullet.
David Bonillas of the Shreveport Police Department testified
that he was the primary investigator in this homicide case.
He described the condition of Mr. Savage's body at the
scene and noted that he was wearing only his underwear and a
gold chain, he had blood coming from his nose and he had a
wound to his upper chest area. He described what he observed
at the house, noting the fire damage and that it appeared
someone had gone through all of Mr. Savage's belongings
and strewn paperwork everywhere. He testified that members of
Mr. Savage's family advised that a television, two safes
and various firearms were missing from the house and that Mr.
Savage's F250 was also missing. They informed him that a
woman named Bailey or Amanda was a home sitter for Mr.
Savage. During Det. Bonillas's testimony, security
footage from Sam's Town Casino recorded on February 22,
2016, was introduced into evidence and viewed by the jury.
The video and photographs showed Defendant and Amanda
arriving at and departing from the parking garage at
different times in the Avalanche, the Accord and the F250.
Bonillas also testified that he interviewed Defendant at the
police station on the morning of February 23, 2016, several
hours after his arrest. Defendant denied any involvement in
the homicide and stated that Lee Lewis was responsible. He
also interviewed Amanda, and she stated that she did not know
Lee Lewis. Based on these inconsistent statements, he
interviewed Defendant on February 24, 2016. An audio and
video recording of this interview was played for the jury.
During the interview, Defendant at first denied involvement,
but he then admitted to being inside the house and repeatedly
stated that he did not kill Mr. Savage. He explained that
Amanda was a sitter for Mr. Savage and knew that the house
would be "an easy lick." He and Amanda entered the
house and went separate ways-he stole two televisions, and
she took coins and prescription medication. He stated that
Amanda shot Mr. Savage with the .22 or .25 caliber pistol she
had when they entered the house. Defendant admitted to
setting the fire with lighter fluid to "cover [their]
the interview at the police station, Det. Bonillas drove
Defendant to the crime scene, and they walked through the
house. This was recorded, and the video was played for the
jury. In the video, Defendant detailed how he and Amanda
broke into the house and went to different areas of the
house. Defendant heard Mr. Savage "holler" and
heard a "pop." He then saw Mr. Savage lying on his
back on the floor, and he was breathing and moaning and
looking at Defendant. Defendant then found lighter fluid and
started a fire using his lighter. Defendant removed two
televisions from the house and put them in the Avalanche.
Defendant saw Amanda with a gun when they arrived at the
house and noted that it was an automatic.
cross-examination, Det. Bonillas testified that Amanda was
also charged with second degree murder. He noted that she was
a suspect in a previous burglary of Mr. Savage's house.
He stated that in November and December 2015, Amanda was a
sitter for Mr. Savage's father, who lived with Mr.
Betsy Huey Pickett of the Shreveport Police Department
testified that she investigated the crime scene. She
described the condition of the house and how fire damage,
including the ceiling collapsing, impacted the investigation.
She stated that it appeared that someone had ransacked the
house and that items were strewn about.
Jennifer White of the Shreveport Police Department testified
that she investigated the crime scene and recovered a spent
cartridge casing, which appeared to be .22 in caliber.
McCollum, an arson investigator with the Shreveport Fire
Department, testified that he investigated the house on
Woolworth Road, which included taking photographs and
collecting samples of debris.
Stentz, a forensic chemist with the North Louisiana Crime
Lab, testified that he analyzed four samples collected at the
scene. He found ignitable liquids on two of the samples.
Long Jin, an expert in the field of forensic pathology,
testified that he performed the autopsy on Mr. Savage. He
determined the manner of death to be homicide and the cause
of death to be a single perforating gunshot wound to the left
chest. He noted that the bullet penetrated Mr. Savage's
aorta, which caused significant blood loss. He testified that
Mr. Savage likely lived "several minutes" after
being shot. He opined that Mr. Savage expired prior to the
fire. He stated that he did not observe any smoke in Mr.
Savage's airway, and the toxicology reports did not show
any carbon monoxide. He observed burns on 15 to 20 percent of
Mr. Savage's body surface.
January 10, 2018, a unanimous jury convicted Defendant as
charged of second degree murder.
January 24, 2018, Defendant filed a motion for new trial. He
argued that the trial court erred in denying his motions to
suppress, that it erred in including in the jury instructions
any reference to the offense of aggravated arson and that the
verdict is contrary to the law and evidence. He also filed a
motion for post-verdict judgment of acquittal. In the
alternative, he argued that he should be convicted of the
lesser included offense of manslaughter. These motions were
addressed at a hearing on January 24, 2018, and the trial
court denied the motions. Defendant waived sentencing delays,
and the trial court sentenced him to the statutory mandatory
sentence of life imprisonment at hard labor without the
benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence.