New facts in ‘sour’ drug deal investigation

Published 5:00 am Thursday, October 10, 2002

MONTICELLO — The man who survived a “sour” drug deal that lefttwo men dead in Lawrence County on Sept. 26 has changed his story,and investigators say they now have a much clearer picture of whatoccurred.

Cedric Lewis, 25, of 40 Oma Main Street, Monticello, changed hisstory last week, and it now matches the story one of the victimstold his sister and brother-in-law before killing himself, saidLawrence County Investigator Jimmie Barton.

According to Barton, Charles R. “Casey” Corbett, 22, of 154 WestSmith Ferry Road, Sontag, contacted Lewis to buy crack cocaine.Lewis didn’t have any, but told Corbett he knew someone he did andcould set up a deal between them.

Corbett and Lewis went to Bertha’s Store in Oma in Corbett’scar. Lewis got out of the car and spoke to Mark Morris, 41, ofRoute 1, Box 40-C, Pinola, to set up the deal, Barton said.

Morris told Lewis he didn’t have the drugs either, but neededmoney and promised to give Lewis a generator if Lewis would helphim rob Corbett, according to Barton.

Lewis agreed and got back into Corbett’s gray Chevrolet Lumina.Morris got into his 1995 Ford Ranger and the three men drove toMildred Little Lane and parked side by side. Corbett got out tospeak to Morris about the drug deal. Lewis also got out, and beganslashing the tires of Corbett’s car with a knife, Barton said.

When Corbett questioned the two men, Morris pulled a weapon,presumably a stick or pipe, Barton said.

At some point during the altercation, Corbett pulled a .22magnum revolver.

“I don’t understand why he had a gun,” said Jamie Hanna,Corbett’s older sister. “He told me he had a bad feeling about thedeal.”

When Morris and Lewis saw the gun, they tried to run, Bartonsaid. Morris ran to his truck.

Corbett fired at least four rounds, one of which struck Morrisin the upper body, he said.

Corbett went to his car to leave, but with the tires flat hebecame stuck in a ditch. He then pulled Morris from his truck andfled in it, Barton said.

According to Hanna, Corbett said he had fought with the menbefore pulling the pistol and had a knob on his head and bloodyknees.

“They did actually fight before he pulled the gun, we think,”Barton said.

Corbett fled to his sister’s home and told her and hisbrother-in-law what happened. He then went outside and shothimself, Hanna said.

“We don’t deny Casey had a drug problem,” she said. “He has beenin and out of rehab about eight times, but he was not a violentperson.”

Barton said Lewis’ new story has been verified by evidence foundat the scene and by the story Corbett told his sister beforeshooting himself.

The original story Lewis told was that he had set up a drug dealbetween Corbett and Morris and Corbett tried to rob them beforeshooting Morris and taking his truck.

“We knew we had some discrepancies in the story, but it is whatwe had to go on at the time,” Barton said. “All of the evidence nowmatches what we believe happened.”

Lewis has been charged with conspiracy to transfer a controlledsubstance. A charge of armed robbery is pending, Thames said. Hisbond has been set at $50,000 and he remains in custody in theLawrence County Jail.

“Armed robbery is the most serious thing we can charge himwith,” Barton said. “It can carry a life sentence.”

Corbett had a prior felony conviction for drugs and was”three-four years” into his probation when the shooting occurred,Hanna said.

“This should be a good lesson on why people shouldn’t do or buydrugs,” Barton said.