Man Gets Life Sentence for Death of Activist Whose Body Was Found in 20-Foot-Deep Well - NBC4 Washington

Man Gets Life Sentence for Death of Activist Whose Body Was Found in 20-Foot-Deep Well



    The wife of Lenny Harris, a community activist who was shot and killed two years ago, spoke to News4's Darcy Spencer on the day one of her husband's killers was sentenced to life in prison. (Published Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013)

    The man convicted of killing a Northern Virginia activist and throwing his body into a 20-foot-deep well will spend the rest of his life in prison.

    Tyrone Lewis was sentenced to life without parole plus 120 years Friday for the murder of Lenwood "Lenny" Harris, a community activist.

    Harris' wife, Deborah Harris, delievered a four-page statement during the sentencing, saying she is welcoming some relief, but still has a lot of pain in her heart. 

    "I can only imagine how [Lewis'] mom and family feels because they lost someone too," she told News4. "I don't want to have animosity toward them for something he did."

    Her son was shot and killed nearly 20 years ago. 

    Prosecutors say Lewis and two other men seeking to get bail money for an arrested friend kidnapped Harris in September 2011 and demanded his ATM card and PIN.

    Authorities say Lewis shot Harris at an abandoned house and then helped dump his body down a 20-foot-deep well near an abandoned home in Fort Washington, Md.

    Surveillance cameras showed someone using Harris' credit card in the aftermath of his disappearance.

    Harris' phone was found on the Wilson Bridge, not far from the well, shortly after his disappearance. His car was found abandoned in October 2011 in Prince George's County.

    But his body remained in the well for four months, until police received an anonymous tip in January 2012. Police had to excavate around the well to try to prevent a well collapse to extract his body, a police spokesperson said.

    Lewis was convicted Sept. 10 of first-degree murder, kidnapping, robbery and use of a handgun in a crime.

    He has also been linked to two other killings, those of a taxi driver in January 2005 and a 17-year-old boy walking home from the library in October 2011. Robbery appeared to be the motive in each of those deaths, authorities said.

    Lewis' co-defendents in the Harris case, Linwood Johnson and Ivan Newman, were also convicted and are awaiting sentencing.

    Harris was known as an advocate for the underprivileged. He was a regular at recreation centers where he would help find tutors for children. He had been last seen at an Alexandria recreation center the evening of Sept. 21, 2011.