TACOMA, WA – Today Joseph Lester, 25, was sentenced to nearly 22 years after a jury found him guilty of Murder in the Second Degree for stabbing to death his 21-year-old pregnant girlfriend, Keisha Lewis, in 2011. A standard range sentence would have been 14 to 23 years. Deputy Prosecuting Attorneys Angelica Williams and James Curtis requested an exceptional sentence of 50 years because the defendant knew the victim was pregnant and the crime occurred in the presence of a minor child. The Judge sentenced the defendant to just short of 22 years.
“This is a sad and disturbing example of domestic violence,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “The defendant’s murderous rage leaves Keisha Lewis’s two young children without their mother. While we believe a longer sentence would have been more just, the defendant has been held accountable."
On October 31, 2011, the defendant arrived at the victim's residence with their 9-month-old daughter. The defendant and the victim engaged in a conversation outside of the residence in the presence of their daughter. Witnesses heard the victim cry out, "he's killing me." The victim retreated inside the residence, bleeding from multiple stab wounds, where her mother, best friend, and 2-year-old son were located. The victim died at the residence.
The defendant fled the scene in his car with their nine-month-old daughter. A witness heard the defendant say, "I'm doing to her what she did to me." Hours after the murder, the defendant turned himself into police.
During the trial, the defendant claimed that he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder when the attack occurred and that he was defending himself from the victim. The jury rejected this claim and found him guilty of intentionally murdering Ms. Lewis. The autopsy performed on the victim showed that she had been stabbed multiple times and suffered fatal wounds to the head and throat. She was at least two months pregnant when she died.
For more information, please contact Kelly Kelstrup at (253) 798-7792, [email protected].