New Orleans woman pleads guilty to role in Harvey homicide

An eastern New Orleans woman has pleaded guilty on to her role in the shooting death of a man in West Jefferson two years ago, bringing to three the number of people who’ve admitted guilt in the homicide.

Markeisha Lewis, 25, pleaded guilty Monday afternoon (Aug. 1) to manslaughter, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to possess Xanex in connection with the June 27, 2014 death of Demone Robinson of Harvey.

In accepting the negotiated plea agreement, Judge Lee Faulkner of the 24th Judicial District Court  will sentence Lewis to 25 years in prison during a hearing set for 1:30 p.m., on Thursday.

Robinson, 24, was shot to death in the 1000 block of Inca Drive in Harvey, during an attempt to rob him of Xanax pills and his pistol. He died at the scene.

The shooter, Everis Hilton, 18, of New Orleans, pleaded guilty to manslaughter on July 12, and received a 40-year prison sentence. Hilton was 16 years old at the time of the offense.

The third participant, Raynell Whittaker, 19, of Harvey, pleaded guilty to manslaughter on June 10, in exchange for a 30-year prison sentence. Judge Faulkner handed down those sentences on July 18.

According to court records, Lewis had been romantically involved with Whittaker’s mother and conceived a plan to rob Robinson of a pistol under the guise of obtaining Xanex pills. She and Robinson communicated via text messages in arranging a meeting. She then told Hilton, “We going to savage D,” speaking in slang of robbing Robinson, according to court records.

The plan called for her and Whittaker to meet with Robinson for the purported narcotics transaction. She told Hilton that her signal to rob Robinson was her saying, “We going to get crunk,” court records show. Lewis and Whittaker then met with Robinson when she called out the signal phrase, leading Hilton to emerge saying “freeze,” court records show.

Robinson began to remove his pistol from his waistband, and Hilton began shooting, according to court records. Afterwards, Hilton explained to Whittaker his reason for opening fire: “I had to. He was going to kill me,” according to court records.

Lewis’ obstruction of justice charge stems from her orchestrating the removal of firearms in connection with the homicide investigation and eliminating evidence of the plan from her cellular phone. She was scheduled to stand trial this week on charges including second-degree murder.

Judge Faulkner will sentence Lewis to 25 years at hard labor for the manslaughter, 2 1/2 years for the conspiracy and 10 years for obstruction of justice. He will run the sentences concurrently, he said.

In pleading guilty on Monday, Lewis told the judge she lived in eastern New Orleans. In court records, her home address was given as the 1000 block of Inca Drive, which is near the homicide scene.

Her guilty plea comes a week after the Louisiana Supreme Court sided with Jefferson Parish prosecutors in their quest to use Lewis’ rap videos and lyrics as evidence against her during the trial. Lyrics describing a violent armed robbery tended to incriminate her in connection with Robinson’s death, prosecutors argued.

Just days before the homicide, Hilton and Whittaker robbed a man of his cell phone in New Orleans’ Irish Channel. They pleaded guilty in Orleans Parish Criminal District Court and were serving 10-year prison sentences for that crime when a Jefferson Parish grand jury handed up an indictment charging them in Robinson’s death.

Assistant District Attorney Lindsay Truhe and Michael Smith prosecuted the case.

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