Woman charged with stabbing ex-husband to death
Published: Saturday, September 22, 2012 at 10:07 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, September 22, 2012 at 10:07 p.m.
OCKLAWAHA — A 49-year-old woman was in jail Saturday morning, accused of stabbing her ex-husband to death in their home after a drunken episode at a family gathering.
Sherry Lewis, 49, of 3715 SE 174th Court, Ocklawaha, is charged with second-degree murder, according to a Marion County Sheriff’s Office arrest affidavit. Officials said she was on suicide watch.
Lewis declined an interview request from the Star-Banner.
According to one official, Lewis called 911 at 12:08 a.m., at which point she told the dispatcher, “I stabbed my husband. I hurt him,” and “What did I do to him? I’m sorry.”
Lt. Dennis Joiner said the woman’s ex-husband, Daniel James Lewis, 52, was stabbed at least five times with a filet knife. Daniel Lewis worked at a family-owned auto repair shop — Gene’s Auto Body — on County Road 314A near Forest Corners.
A deputy arrived at the home and found a large amount of blood in the laundry room and Daniel Lewis lying on the bathroom floor. The knife was there, as well.
The deputy asked the man who had stabbed him, and he said, “My wife. She only nicked me a couple of times,” according to the affidavit.
The deputy placed the woman in a patrol car, and when he returned to the bathroom the victim was unconscious.
He was taken by helicopter to Shands at the University of Florida, where he died at about 2 a.m.
Detective Clint Smith interviewed the suspect, who would only say, “I know what I did.” Then she declined to answer questions and asked for a lawyer.
The detective interviewed Tammy Leslie, the victim’s sister, who said the couple arrived at a family gathering Friday evening. Leslie said the wife was intoxicated at the gathering, that she drank a whole bottle of wine and several beers, according to the Sheriff’s Office report.
Leslie said the woman was verbally abusive toward family members at the gathering, threw a beer can at them and stated, “I hate this (expletive) family.”
Locally, records show Sherry Lewis does not have a criminal history.
A sheriff’s official said the party was at the nearby home of Daniel Lewis’ father and that it began at about 8 p.m. The husband and wife left the gathering at about 10 p.m. The official said the husband appeared to be embarrassed by his wife’s behavior.
In a later interview with a Star-Banner reporter, Leslie said her brother and Sherry Lewis had been divorced for five or six years and she was staying at the home because she had no place to go.
Court records indicate the divorce was final in December 2007.
Leslie said Sherry and Daniel Lewis went to her parents’ home to have dinner. She said the party was for her father’s 80th birthday and that he turns 80 next week.
“He loved his children and grandchildren very much,” Leslie said of her brother. She said her mother and father are devastated by their son’s death.
The suspect’s 32-year-old daughter, Monica Howard, told detective Smith that her mother had been physically abusive with Daniel Lewis in the past. Howard is one of the suspect’s two daughters. Daniel Lewis helped to raise them as his stepdaughters.
There were no domestic violence reports related to the couple.
Neighbors in the community of mobile homes and well-kept yards, who gathered mere yards away, appeared shocked at news of the homicide.
Neighbors described Daniel Lewis as a quiet man, a hard worker, a nice guy, someone who likes to laugh and joke, and a man who loves taking care of his family. A few said they’ve never seen him raise his voice.
Sherry Lewis, they said, devoted hours to their yard and flower gardens. On weekends, they said the two could be seen working in the yard.
Clyde and Jessica Tyndal, who live next door, said that usually on a Friday night they would hear the Lewises playing dominoes, laughing and joking. The couple did like to drink, their neighbors said.
The Tyndals said on Friday, it was unusually quiet over at the Lewises. They did hear noises coming from what appeared to be the garage area, but thought nothing of it.
Charles McSorley said he has known Daniel Lewis for about 30 years, and he usually keeps to himself and was a homebody.
A woman, who gave her name as Lisa, said Daniel would do anything for people in the neighborhood. She recalls one time when some people in the community did not have any running water and Daniel allowed to people to retrieve water from his well.
“I just can’t believe he’s gone,” she said.
Since the beginning of the year, there have been several domestic homicides. In a few of the incidents, the husband shot the wife and then turned the gun on himself.
A few weeks ago, a man shot and killed his grandmother and great-grandmother and shot a third woman, who survived. He’s currently in the jail.
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