Ex-UM CB Lewis acquitted in domestic violence case
Ann Arbor — The domestic violence case against former University of Michigan All-American Jourdan Lewis ended Tuesday with the Dallas Cowboys rookie being acquitted by an Ann Arbor jury.
“I’m elated ... of course,” Lewis said after the seven-member jury reached its verdict late Tuesday afternoon in 15th District Court.
The verdict came after a full day of testimony before Judge Elizabeth Pollard Hines.
Witnesses included Lewis’ 20-year-old ex-girlfriend, her mother and two Ann Arbor police officers.
The jury weighed whether Lewis, 21, was guilty of the misdemeanor domestic violence charge that stemmed from a March 15 incident, which started after he left a light on in the couple’s Ann Arbor apartment and an argument ensued.
The girlfriend accused Lewis of striking her in the face with a pillow and dragging her.
Ann Arbor Police Officer Kabe Jenkins said Lewis told him he hit the young woman in the face “hard” with a pillow out of frustration. The officer also testified that Lewis told him that the girlfriend pushed him and struck him in the face.
Lewis did not take the stand in his own defense.
His former girlfriend broke down several times Tuesday while testifying about the fight, which she said was over finances and a light being left on.
Lewis said his girlfriend roused him out of bed when she got home and noticed the lights were left on. The woman and her mother testified that the couple have argued frequently over finances.
Police were called to the couple’s Ann Arbor apartment, where the ex-girlfriend told officers she and Lewis had argued and that he had assaulted her.
Lewis told police he was trying to leave the apartment but his girlfriend kept trying to keep him there by pulling on his leg. He said he grabbed her by the shoulders to get her out of his way so he could leave.
But Assistant Washtenaw County Prosecutor Lou Danner III said in his closing arguments that the young woman had not yet pulled Lewis’ leg when he grabbed her by the shoulder.
“I didn’t put my hands on her,” the officer quoted Lewis as saying. “I’m trying to get out the house. That’s it. She kept saying ‘hit me, hit me, hit me.’”
Lewis’ ex-girlfriend testified that he struck her in the face so hard she was forced into a wall.
Ann Arbor Police Officer Mark Pulford, who responded to the alleged incident, said he did not see any injuries on Lewis’ girlfriend and that she had refused medical attention. Jenkins also testified he did not see any injuries on Lewis’ girlfriend and that she told police she did not need medical attention.
The jurors listened to the testimony as well as the 911 call the young woman made to police saying Lewis grabbed her with his hands by the throat.
Lewis’ attorney asked the young woman if she was trying to prevent him from leaving their apartment by holding him by the leg.
She denied physically trying to prevent Lewis from leaving, but testified that she tried to persuade him to stay, saying: “It would be my personality to tell him not to leave because of the (mental) state he was in.”
Lewis’ lawyer, John Shea, said all his client wanted to do was leave and that “at no time was he trying to harm her. He didn’t strangle her. All he wanted to do is leave.”
Pulford said Lewis told him his girlfriend had tried to prevent him from leaving their apartment and that he became frustrated, struck her with the pillow in the face and hurled slurs at her.
The police officer said the woman did not tell them that she had struck Lewis.
The woman told Lewis’ attorney she received “just scratches” on her nose and thumb, and did not tell police about them because she didn’t notice them.
In closing arguments, Danner said Lewis broke the law and that he “knew what he was doing was wrong but he did it anyway.”
Shea told jurors during his closing arguments that the young woman was “unreasonably” trying to get in his client’s way as Lewis tried to leave.
“No one has a right to engage in unconsented touching of their own,” said Shea. “No one has a right to get in the way of another as to keep them from going when they want to go.”
Shea said the girlfriend gave conflicting information to police and omitted some details, such as striking Lewis and grabbing onto to his leg, in her initial statements to officers.
The prosecutor argued that the accounts given by Lewis and his ex-girlfriend demonstrate that he assaulted her.
“It’s not her story and it’s not his story,” said Danner. “It’s their story. When you put their stories, together you get assault.”
Jurors also were instructed to consider a lesser offense of assault and battery, which carries the same punishment.