North Carolina Man Pleads Guilty To Killing U.S. Marshals Task Force Officer
WASHINGTON – Lamont Deshawn Byrd pleaded guilty today in federal court in Raleigh, North Carolina, to one count of first degree murder of an Officer of the United States announced Thomas G. Walker, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Byrd, 21, was charged by Criminal Information on June 5, 2014, which states that on June 9, 2011, Byrd, with premeditation and malice, killed a Warren Basco “Sneak” Lewis, III, an investigator with the Nash County Sheriff’s Office who was also a sworn special deputy United States marshal assigned to the Eastern North Carolina Regional Fugitive Task Force.
Additionally, according to information provided in open court, on June 2, 2011, Kinston officers responded to an emergency call, in which Thomas Terrell Hinton was fatally shot in the chest by Byrd, Kion Tyearl Dail and two additional juveniles, who then stole his bicycle.
Joining Mr. Walker in today’s announcement are Greg McLeod of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation; Wayne L. Dixie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge, of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and Bill Johnson, Chief, Kinston Department of Public Safety.
According to United States Attorney Walker; “Assaults on federal law enforcement officers in the performance of their duties will not be tolerated. The death of Special Deputy Lewis is a tragedy for his family and all of us in the law enforcement community.”
“The U.S. Marshals Service’s Task Forces play a critical role in protecting our communities across the nation,” said Stacia Hylton, Director of the U.S. Marshals Service. “The partnerships we form with State and Local law enforcement agencies are at the center of reducing violence in our communities, especially in small towns. The men and women in these task forces are dedicated to this effort and Investigator Warren Lewis exemplified that devotion. He was killed serving warrants on five people, including three who were wanted for murder. Each posed a significant threat within the community. We all still miss Warren and we hope that knowing his killer will face justice brings some small level of peace to this situation, which is important for his beloved family. Warren will always be remembered for the hero he was, giving his life in the protection of others.”
“Today’s plea is the result of a tragedy and loss of human life that was not necessary.” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Wayne Dixie, “Anyone that uses a firearm to commit a violent criminal act, especially the murder of a law enforcement officer will be held accountable for their actions. We will continue to use all of our resources to prosecute those that choose to commit this type of heinous act.”
"North Carolina is grateful for the service and sacrifice of officers like Investigator Lewis, and I'm proud of the work State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) agents and all involved have done to bring justice to this tragic case," North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said.
Director of the Kinston Department of Public Safety Bill Johnson added, “The Lewis family and the State of North Carolina lost a true hero. I wish to thank the many individuals and agencies for their assistance in the effort to see justice done.”
On June 9, 2011, Kinston officers, along with U.S. Deputy Marshals attempted to locate the suspects utilizing warrants and executed a search warrant at 602-A West Lenoir Avenue, Kinston, NC. This address is a residence which has been converted into three separate apartments; one upstairs and two downstairs. Although it appeared that 602-A had been inhabited, the apartment was now empty. However, two shotguns were located. Laboratory testing revealed that Byrd had possessed the weapons. Earlier Byrd and several others had moved to Apt B downstairs.
Later that day, after developing additional information, law enforcement officers went back to the Lenoir Avenue apartments. While searching for the suspects, law enforcement officers announced their presence. As Investigator Lewis was coming down the stairs from the upstairs apartment, Byrd shot three times through the closed door, striking the deputy all three times. After realizing he had shot an officer, Byrd was heard to utter, “See what you made me do?” Byrd then handed the weapon to another individual to hide. After a 20-minute stand-off, the individuals came out. The weapon, a Berretta .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol, was found in a banker’s box in a closet, with Byrd’s DNA on it. The weapon had been stolen from a residence three weeks prior.
Investigator Lewis was transported to the hospital where he later died from his injuries.
According to the Plea Agreement, Byrd has also been charged in state court and will plead guilty to murder charges.
At sentencing, scheduled for November 3, 2014, Byrd faces a life-term of imprisonment followed by up to five years of supervised release.
The investigation was conducted by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Kinston Department of Public Safety.
The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jane J. Jackson and Imelda J. Pate, Assistant District Attorney for the Eighth District.