Former KCK high school football star to serve life in prison for murder

A former high school football star from Kansas City, Kan., was sentenced today to life in prison for the Easter 2010 killing of a man in Shawnee.

Johnson County District Judge Peter Ruddick also sentenced Michael Trevon Lewis to a term of 61 months for an additional charge of aggravated robbery. Ruddick ordered the sentences to run consecutively.

In February, after a non-jury trial, Ruddick found Lewis, 24, guilty of felony first-degree murder in the killing of 43-year-old Curley Tyler.

Tyler’s adult son found him shot to death April 4, 2010, inside his SUV parked outside the apartment complex where they lived in the 6300 block of Cottonwood Drive. Prosecutors contended that Lewis owed money to Tyler, who had rented him his car. Lewis testified that he had paid Tyler and last saw him driving away from his residence.

Circumstantial evidence at trial included cell phone records that showed Tyler calling Lewis numerous times the day before he was killed. The records also placed Lewis in the vicinity of Tyler’s apartment early the morning of killing at about the time a witness reported hearing a loud noise.

Lewis had been a standout wide receiver and defensive back at Schlagle High School before being arrested and charged in a 2005 home invasion robbery in Kansas City, Kan. He was on parole from that conviction at the time of Tyler’s killing.

After the February hearing where Lewis was found guilty, an altercation broke out between his family and Tyler’s relatives. That prompted a heavy security presence for Tuesday’s sentencing. To avoid problems Tuesday, Lewis’ family was in the courtroom for the sentencing while the Tyler family watched on closed-circuit television from another courtroom.

Because the murder conviction carried a mandatory life sentence with no parole eligibility for 20 years, the only sentencing question was whether or not the robbery charge would run consecutively. Assistant District Attorney Lannie Ornburn argued that it should, while defense attorney Don Smith asked for concurrent sentences.