HOUSTON (KTRK) --Jurors on Tuesday sentenced a man to death for killing a Bellaire police officer and local businessman nearly two years ago. It took a little more than one full day to reach that verdict.
Last week, that same jury found Harlem Lewis III guilty of murdering officer Jimmy Norman and businessman Terry Taylor, a verdict that only took two hours to reach.
"I don't think they would mind me saying that they were looking for anything redeeming about Harlem Lewis, anything that showed the slightest bit of remorse or understanding of the magnitude of the crime that he committed and they found that," Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson said.
Earlier this week, jurors listened to emotional testimony from both sides about whether or not Lewis should be sentenced to death. They were sequestered overnight in a downtown hotel. They came back to the courthouse around 8:30am Tuesday and spent the morning and early afternoon deliberating.
"We always have to be ready for the worst and prepare his family for the worst also -- that it could happen and if it did they have an appellate process they'd have to go through," defense attorney Tryone Moncriffe said.
Following the verdict, the victim's families had a chance in court to talk about the impact of Lewis' actions. He was required to stand. and listen. First Norman's daughter read a letter written by his widow, which, in part, stated:
"I'm mad. I'm heartbroken... I hate this punk named Harlem Lewis III for murdering my husband." She called him a "coward" and an "evil person."
Then Taylor's widow added, "You're going to face the consequences of your choices.. I feel really sorry for you."
Lewis seemed to avoid eye contact with them.
"I think he's been stunned a bit," his attorney Patrick McCan said.
Tuesday's sentence will automatically be appealed.