Woman testifies suspect had bloody hands the night of murder
BY RUTH ANN KRAUSE Post-Tribune correspondent October 7, 2013 5:38PM
Updated: November 9, 2013 6:22AM
The former girlfriend of a man on trial for a 2011 homicide spent a second day on the witness stand describing how she helped him dispose of evidence.
Chakole Spurlock testified she saw blood on Robert Lewis III’s hands and his clothing early on April 2, 2011, after she picked him up at his parents’ house on East 44th Avenue in Gary.
During cross-examination by defense attorney T. Edward Page, Spurlock said she also saw blood on Lewis’ jeans after Lewis had burned his jacket, hat, shoes and a set of keys in the alley by her detached garage when her mother and children were inside her home. When she pointed out a “smudge” of blood on the jeans, Lewis told her, “Do you know how much these jeans cost?” Spurlock recalled.
Lewis, 40, has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder in perpetration of a robbery, murder in perpetration of criminal deviate conduct, murder, robbery, criminal deviate conduct and resisting law enforcement. If convicted of the two felony murder counts, he faces life without parole.
The charges were filed five days after Jennifer Kocsis’ beaten, partially clothed body was discovered outside the shuttered Riley School, 1301 E. 43rd Avenue in Gary. Witnesses saw Lewis leave with Kocsis, who told a friend she was giving “a guy” a ride when they left Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant in Griffith at about 2 a.m. April 2, 2011.
Responding to a juror question, Spurlock said she learned Lewis, her on-again, off-again boyfriend with whom she had primarily a physical relationship, was still married when she spoke to a detective eight days after the homicide.
Spurlock said she and Lewis had been in contact the previous night. when Lewis had asked her to join him at Pepe’s. She was at work, but left early when he asked for a ride . “I went to go pick him up because he sounded in need,” she said.
She drove by the Pepe’s, saw the lights were off and called and texted him about 2:38 a.m. When they spoke, he asked her to pick him up at her parents’ house, but later told her to tell police she had picked him up at the restaurant.
Spurlock testified under a grant of immunity from prosecution for her involvement in helping dispose of evidence. After the interview with police, she gathered the charred items and put them in her trash can. Spurlock also admitted she initially lied to police.