A Bay Point man convicted of torture, rape and human trafficking compared his own plight to that of Nelson Mandela’s, before a Contra Costa County judge sentenced him Friday to life plus at least 180 years.
Before he was sentenced, Deandre Lewis heard from some of his victims and their family members, but only briefly glanced toward them as they spoke. One woman, who said she had known Lewis since he was 16, recounted how he would regularly beat her and others to keep them under his control, and said she lived in fear for many years.
“I lived in terror of what you could do to me, my parents or my son,” said the woman, who this newspaper is not identifying. She later added, “The reality is, you are the weak one. You needed me more than I needed you.”
Lewis ran a sex trafficking ring for many years, and became a top target for local law enforcement. The evidence against him included an essay he wrote about pimping at Diablo Community College, hidden camera videos of sex workers and clients, and the testimony of multiple women who said he kept them under control with threats and violence.
There was also evidence Lewis and some of the women — including his “top prostitute,” co-conspirator Rachel Smith — extorted clients, stealing guns and in one case gaining power of attorney over an elderly man who believed he and a prostitute were dating. Smith received 17 years in a plea deal.
Lewis was also charged with murder in the 2012 shooting death of a woman who prosecutors say Lewis forced to commit suicide. Jurors hung on that charge.
One act stood out for its brazenness and depravity: In 2013, as he sat in jail on drug charges, Lewis ordered Smith to stab, mutilate and partially scalp another woman over a recorded jail call, as Lewis and the woman argued over a small debt. He later put the woman on the phone and told her that she was “worser (sic) than dog (expletive)” and that he had spared her life. The woman’s sister spoke Friday, telling him to “rot in jail,” and that “no woman on Earth deserves the abuse you put her through.”
“I hope one day you find it in your heart to acknowledge what you’ve done,” she said.
When it was Lewis’ turn to speak, he opened his remarks with a quote from Mandela’s 1990 speech before the United States Congress, that, “To deny any person their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.” He said prosecutors knew many of the charges against him were “false,” and referred to a victim who spoke as “a liar.”
“I have not had a fair and impartial trial,” Lewis said. He said that he was the victim of “remote brain monitoring,” and that law enforcement was torturing him by sending electronic waves to his brain in the jail and courtroom. In March, Lewis and his attorney filed a legal claim asking for $10,000 in damages for “remote neural monitoring” of Lewis.
He ended his remarks by paraphrasing another Mandela quote, from his memoir “Long Walk to Freedom.”
“I have discovered that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb,” Lewis said.
Judge Barry Baskin said Lewis’ remarks were just the latest example of his “arrogance and callousness,” which he said was made clear in the jail calls.
“Despite repeated warnings that the calls were being monitored, you nevertheless made orders to mutilate this woman,” Baskin said, adding that Lewis has “yet to say sorry.”
Attorneys next week will confer and determine whether Lewis must serve 180 years or more than 200 years before he is eligible for parole.
“At any rate, it’s still going to exceed his life expectancy,” Baskin said.
Source: East Bay Times