A 24-year-old father facing a possible sentence of life without parole in the death of his 4-year-old is scheduled to face a Bowie County jury in November.
Benearl Jermane Lewis allegedly caused the injuries that led to the March 8 death of D’Money Lewis. Benearl Lewis appeared Monday afternoon before 5th District Judge Bill Miller for a pretrial hearing in the Bi-State Justice Center in Texarkana. Benearl Lewis’ defense attorney, Derric McFarland of Texarkana, said he could be adding a medical expert to the defense’s witness list.
Assistant District Attorney Lauren Richards said the state currently has no issues for the court to address. Benearl Lewis is facing life without parole if convicted of capital murder. The state is not seeking the death penalty.
According to testimony in July at a bond hearing for D’Money’s mother, Khadijah Wright, 26, Benearl Lewis and Wright have been investigated by child welfare agencies in multiple states including Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi. Wright is facing a charge of injury to a child by omission in D’Money’s death. She is currently free on a $20,000 bond.
At the time of D’Money’s death, a Child Protective Services care plan was in place which prohibited Benearl Lewis from being alone with D’Money or his 6-year-old brother, or from spending the night at their home on Redwater Road in Wake Village. Wright and Lewis allegedly told police Wright was home were D’Money fell or jumped from a deep freezer and hit his head but investigators later determined Wright was away from home at work when D’Money suffered catastrophic head injuries.
Investigators with the Wake Village, Texas, Police Department became involved after being notified of D’Money’s dire physical condition by Texarkana, Texas, police. Texarkana, Texas, police were processing a traffic accident March 6 at Bishop Lane and Seventh Street when they were approached by one of the parents about their child. When officers checked on D’Money, they found him unresponsive, not breathing and cold to the touch, Aultman said. Benearl Lewis and Wright were allegedly on their way to a local hospital when they came upon the traffic accident.
D’Money was rushed to a local hospital and later transported to Children’s Hospital in Little Rock where he died March 8. According to a probable cause affidavit, strap marks and bruises were seen on the child’s body before he was taken to Little Rock. An autopsy report referenced in the affidavit showed D’Money died of massive head trauma.
Benearl Lewis’ case is scheduled for jury selection Nov. 13 at the Bowie County courthouse in New Boston. Both he and Wright are scheduled to appear before Miller for pretrial hearings Nov. 12. A date for Wright’s trial has not been scheduled