Settlement Reached in Arrest over Columbus Twin's Death
The twin brother once accused of fratricide and the city of Columbus have reached a settlement. Five months after his release from jail the city of Columbus has agreed to pay Derris Lewis $950,000.
It was almost two years ago that then 18-year-old Derris Lewis was hauled off to jail accused of killing his twin, Dennis. He spent 18 months in jail before the charges were dropped. Now 20 years old, and a student at Ohio State Derris Lewis is one step closer to putting the nightmare behind him.
After months of mediation, Columbus has agreed to settle with Lewis for $950,000.
"We view this settlement as a giant step towards cleansing his reputation. The untrue accusations about him have unfortunately landed him on the first page of Google. Hopefully after this settlement the Google effect can be neutralized and Derris can enter his career someday with the stellar reputation that he deserves," he said.
Shroyer said if the case had gone to trial a jury would have considered Lewis' 18-months in jail, his mental anguish and future economic damages because of the bad publicity. Shroyer is convinced a jury would have awarded Lewis a much higher amount than the actual settlement. He said focus groups, during mediation, came up with figures as high as $5 million. But Shroyer said Lewis is ready to put this behind him, and Shroyer thinks the settlement will help his client later in life.
"Where he's going to have his loss from this damage is going to be in his future years when he the potential damage to the reputation that's going to affect his earning capacity. And we've structured it so that funds are then going to be paid out to him as he would incur the loss over those period of years," he said.
Before Lewis receives any money, though, Columbus City Council must approve the figure. Another Lewis attorney, Joseph E. Scott, said Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman has signed off on the agreement, and Scott is confident city council will follow suit. The attorneys expect council to vote on the settlement within a month.
If city leaders approve, Lewis would begin receiving the funds after he completes college. Shroyer said portions of the settlement will put into an annuity generating interest that could bring the total settlement to about $1.2 million.
Shroyer declined to say how much attorneys will reap in legal fees. In his words "that's between us and Derris."
Lewis, who remains quite shy, said Dennis' open murder investigation "is in God's hands." He said he does not think it has sunk in that his brother is really gone.
"I guess, when I get older, you know, start to realize that he's really not here, I'm mean he's here with me in his spirit. But I mean, I will still carry on. I mean that's what we promised each other, to succeed and help our mother," Lewis said.
Lewis was freed in August after testing proved his fingerprint was not in his brother's blood at the crime scene. Dennis Lewis was murdered in January 2008 at their mother's Linden home.