Advertisement

Our coronavirus coverage is free for the first 24 hours. Find the latest information at tampabay.com/coronavirus. Please consider subscribing or donating.

  1. Archive

No bail for Lewis; two more hunted

Police hid the limousine driver for Pro Bowl linebacker Ray Lewis in a hotel Tuesday while they hunted for two members of Lewis' entourage in the stabbing deaths of two men.

Lewis remained in jail without bond, charged with murder.

Detectives said they were gathering information for murder warrants for at least two more men who were with the Baltimore Ravens player in his Lincoln Navigator stretch limousine early Sunday.

Detectives would not name the men. The men were not believed to be active NFL players, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported, but the possibility remained they were former players.

The limo driver _ whom detectives said was cooperating fully _ was being kept at the hotel for his protection, investigators said. An officer was staying with him.

Tuesday morning, Lewis appeared in municipal court for an initial hearing in the killings of Jacinth Baker, 21, and Richard Lollar, 24, both of Decatur, Ga. City Judge Elain Carlisle continued the case until Feb. 24 when assistant city solicitor Larry Gardner told her no witnesses were present.

Lewis, a Bartow native who played at Lakeland Kathleen High and the University of Miami, seemed frightened by the cameras and reporters. He blinked several times as he shuffled into the courtroom, then stared at the floor and said nothing.

His attorney, Max Richardson, said Lewis is innocent.

"He was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but he had nothing to do with this," Richardson said. "My client was at the scene where these crimes took place, but he had nothing to do with it."

Police said witnesses told them six men fought with the victims outside a nightclub in the city's trendy Buckhead neighborhood, then fled in the limo. The stabbings occurred about 4 a.m. The limo was found two hours later in a parking lot behind a Buckhead hotel, about a mile from the scene.

Tony Toscov, owner of the company that rented the limo to Lewis in Baltimore, said the driver, Duanne Fassett, told him Lewis did not stab the victims.

Lewis was arrested Monday afternoon after he telephoned police upon learning a warrant had been issued for his arrest, detectives said.

Lewis, who led the NFL in tackles this season, was supposed to fly to Hawaii on Tuesday for the Pro Bowl, in which he was to start. It would have been his third Pro Bowl appearance.

The Bucs' Warren Sapp, a close friend of Lewis', said Lewis could not kill someone.

"Ray will get you in a club and dance you to death, but stab you to death? No," Sapp said. "I raised this kid since he was 18 years old. When everything is said and done, he'll be cleared of this."

Dale Fryzel, Lakeland Kathleen defensive coordinator in Lewis' junior and senior seasons and now an administrator at Lakeland Senior High, said he can't believe Lewis was involved.

"He was an outstanding player, student and leader," Fryzel said. "He was upbeat, a hard worker and he motivated people in positive ways."

Alvin Jones, guidance counselor and boys basketball coach at Kathleen while Lewis was there, said Lewis was a high school hero.

"I don't believe he was the one who committed the actual murder," Jones said. "I can't believe that he killed anybody. No way. I can't believe he had it in him to do something like that."

_ Staff writers Rick Stroud and Scott Purks contributed to this report.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Advertisement
Advertisement