Jacksonville man sentenced in 2020 shooting that injured estranged wife

Crime Tracker

Jermaine Leverne Lewis

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — District Attorney Ernie Lee said in a press release Friday that an Onslow County man was sentenced after pleading guilty to attempted first-degree murder in the shooting of his estranged wife in 2020.

Jermaine Leverne Lewis, 34, of 2980 Burgaw Hwy. in Jacksonville, pled guilty and was sentenced to between 125 and 162 months. He was also sentenced for discharging a weapon into a vehicle occupied by his estranged wife.

Below are more details from the press release.

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On Thursday, December 16, 2021, Jermaine Leverne Lewis, 34, of 2980 Burgaw Hwy, plead guilty to attempted first-degree murder and discharging a weapon into an occupied vehicle while in operation.   Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Charles H. Henry of Onslow County sentenced the defendant to a minimum of 125 months and a maximum of 162 months for attempted first-degree murder with a consecutive sentence of a minimum of 58 months and a maximum of 82 months for discharging a weapon into an occupied vehicle. The total sentence is a minimum of 183 months and a maximum of 244 months in the North Carolina Department of Adult Correction.   Assistant District Attorney Bob Roupe prosecuted this case on behalf of the State of North Carolina. 

The State’s evidence showed that on July 14, 2020, at 9:30 p.m. the victim in this case, the defendant’s estranged wife, walked out of Publix on Western Blvd. after finishing her shift. Because of the defendant’s actions during the days prior to this incident, the victim had been trying to remain hidden from the defendant. She had only returned to work that day after several days off trying to keep the defendant from knowing where she was.

After walking out of the store, the victim walked to her vehicle. The evidence showed, and a parking lot camera demonstrated, that the defendant was sitting in 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander in the rear of the parking lot. When the victim walked out of Publix and got into her car, the defendant drove up next to her and started firing at the victim’s car.  The victim began to drive away to keep from being shot repeatedly. She was able to identify the defendant as the person that shot at her.

The defendant followed her in the parking lot, shooting at her through his front car windshield. She drove around the parking lot and eventually made her way to near the front of the store and honked the horn. Her co-workers came out and called 911. The defendant sped away out of the parking lot.

When law enforcement arrived, they saw the victim sitting in her front seat, leaning forward onto the dash. She was bleeding heavily from her midsection with blood all over her seat. EMS came and took her to the Naval hospital where she remained for nine days. The victim was seriously injured, with a torn lung, a torn spleen, and significant damage to her liver, esophagus, stomach, and diaphragm which required surgery and follow up care. The victim is recovering currently.  The quick response of the Jacksonville Police Department, E.M.S. and other emergency was critical in this case.

The Jacksonville Police Department learned that the defendant fled the scene, and might be found at 2980 Burgaw Hwy., Lot 30. When officers arrived at this location, they found the Mitsubishi Outlander seen on the Publix surveillance video. The windshield had bullet holes and there were numerous shell casings found inside the vehicle. The defendant was found inside and taken into custody.

When questioned, the defendant told law enforcement his feelings about the marital and child custody issues, and then indicated that he was contemplating suicide and had gone to the Publix parking lot. He admitted shooting at the victim’s vehicle, but said he was only trying to scare her and was not trying to hurt or kill her.

District Attorney Ernie Lee states that “I am very pleased with the quick response of the Jacksonville Police Department in this case.  This is a very similar fact situation to a case I tried in Jacksonville in March 2017 in which that defendant also shot his estranged wife in her place of employment at the Olive Garden Restaurant on Western Blvd.  In that case, the jury convicted that defendant of felony assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and other offenses, and he too received a very substantial prison sentence.  Domestic violence is rampant in this nation and as both these cases demonstrate, victims can be seriously injured or killed due to the actions of a spouse who refuses to accept their estrangement or the end of the relationship.  These cases are serious, and this office will continue to put considerable resources in prosecuting those who commit these acts of domestic violence. Victims must be protected.”

District Attorney Ernie Lee “appreciates the quick reaction of the Jacksonville Police Department and for the hard work of Assistant District Attorney Bob Roupe in ensuring the defendant was punished and justice was done.”

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