Man accused of killing 80-year-old stayed in court-ordered halfway home for only 2 days, records show

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A warrant was not issued for the arrest of a man police say killed an 80-year-old woman at a Walgreens parking lot in southwest Houston on Saturday after he left his halfway house days earlier.

Randy Lewis was admitted to a mental health facility in October after being found incompetent to stand trial.

Lewis is accused of killing Rosalie Cook. Police said she was stabbed in the chest outside of her car after shopping inside the Walgreens near the corner of Gessner and S. Braeswood Boulevard.

READ ALSO: Bond waived for suspect days before killing 80-year-old at Houston Walgreens

"What makes me angry is that this suspect stabbed an 80-year-old woman," said Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo at a briefing from the scene. "He then goes down and starts rifling through her stuff and then tries to steal her car."

A police officer arrived a short time later and found Lewis inside Cook's car trying to start it, according to Acevedo. When Lewis refused commands and lunged at an officer with a knife believed to be 6-inches long, two shots were fired. Lewis died at the scene.

Court documents show the judge signed off on a request by the facility administrator to extend his stay by 60 days on March 19.

On April 28, a judge approved the transfer of Lewis to a halfway house operated by Royal Personal Care on May 1. The Harris County District Attorney's Office said he stayed there only two days before leaving.

They issued the following statement:

"The defendant had a history of mental illness and he should have been kept off the streets. He recently absconded from the personal-care facility where the judge ordered he live instead of being held in jail. The judge had not issued a warrant for his arrest even when he had absconded, so police did not even know to look for him and unfortunately this tragedy occurred before he could be returned to court.

ABC13 reached out to the man listed as the owner of Royal Personal Care, Ifeoma Dike. He said his manager would return the call. As of Tuesday night, ABC13 has not received a call back.
Meanwhile, Harris County civil court records show Dike was listed in two lawsuits from the early 2000s for operating unlicensed long-term care facilities.

His current facility in southwest Houston is licensed by the state, but ABC13 did not find an alternate housing and correction facility license filed locally.

Three judges are listed on Lewis' open cases. He currently has two open felonies: theft and assaulting a public servant. Judge Herb Ritchie told ABC13 on Tuesday that Lewis was moved to the competency restoration docket in felony mental health court.

ABC13 reached out to Judge George Powell's office but did not receive a response.

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