Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Former firefighter George Lewis, convicted in 1984 Gulfport murder, dies in prison

George Lewis, the Gulfport man convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the 1984 stabbing death of his neighbor, has died in prison. He was 52.

"I'm deeply saddened by George's passing," said Bob Paver, one of Lewis' original defense attorneys. "I hope for some measure of closure for his family and loved ones, as I do for the family and loved ones of Karen Gregory."

Gregory, a 36-year-old graphic artist who lived in Gulfport with her boyfriend, was attacked in her home in the early hours of May 23, 1984. More than a dozen neighbors heard her scream, but none called police.

SPECIAL REPORT: A Cry in the Night, the Murder of Karen Gregory

Lewis, then a 22-year-old St. Petersburg firefighter, lived across the street from Gregory and told police he too heard her cry that night. A long and difficult investigation followed, leaving detectives stumped.

It wasn't until two years later, in March 1986, that Lewis was arrested by a detective who happened to be a close friend. Lewis was convicted of first-degree murder and sexual battery and sentenced to life in prison.

Lewis and his attorneys pursued appeal after appeal and the Innocence Project of Florida even took on his case, but all efforts to free him from prison failed. Lewis was serving his term at the Tomoka Correctional Institution in Daytona Beach at the time of his death Sunday, according to the Florida Department of Corrections website.

Paver, who kept in contact with Lewis and represented him pro bono in the years since the conviction, said he was unsure of the cause of death.

The Times wrote at length about the case in A Cry in the Night, a series published in 1986 and 1988, which was later turned into a book.

Contact Katie Mettler at kmettler@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8913. Follow her @kemettler.

Series on the slaying

To read the Times series on the Karen Gregory investigation, go to tbtim.es/cryinthenight.

Series on the slaying

To read the Times series on the Karen Gregory investigation, go to tbtim.es/cryinthenight.

Former firefighter George Lewis, convicted in 1984 Gulfport murder, dies in prison 06/30/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 30, 2015 2:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Good to be bad? Dirk Koetter's call for bold, brash Bucs

    Bucs

    Is being a badass team all about swagger and toughness? "Our whole thing is about competing," Bucs coach Dirk Koetter says. (Loren Elliott | Times)
  2. St. Pete sewage crisis ends with no charges, $326 million bill

    Water

    ST. PETERSBURG — The city has put the legal fallout from the sewage crisis behind it.

    Signs at North Shore Park in St. Petersburg warn people in September to stay out of the water due to contamination from partially treated sewage from the city's overwhelmed sewer system in September 2016. The city recently learned that no employees will face charges as a result of that crisis. The St. Petersburg City Council also agreed to spend $326 million fixing its sewer system. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  3. Epilogue: Tony Scaglione served Ybor delicacies and laughs

    Obituaries

    Tony Scaglione's childhood dream was to own his family's restaurant.

    Tony Scaglione - the longtime owner of Tony's Ybor Restaurant - has died.  He was 87. Credit: Larry Scaglione
  4. What you need to know for Friday, July 21

    News

    href="http://www.tampabay.com/specials/2015/graphics/macros/css/base.css"> Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during minicamp this summer. He said the Bucs could be "a bad--- football team." [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Final sign positions should cut danger where trail crosses interstate ramp

    Roads

    I am concerned with the yield signs I saw recently installed for the new bike and pedestrian trail along either side of Roosevelt Boulevard between Carillon Parkway/28th Street and Interstate 275. These yield signs seem to be pointing to the drivers, one side as they exit the interstate northbound, the other as they …