Crime Stoppers: Police, widow seek leads in 2002 murder of James Lewis
Jean Lewis' husband James was taken from her when a robbery turned deadly at the Leisure Time Dive & Ski Center in 2002.
"He was just the love of my life; my soul mate," she said. "I always think about him. I still have his pictures in my rooms and stuff at home and I love to talk about him because he was special. He was just really a great guy."
On the evening of January 3, 18 years ago, James was at work at the Brainerd Road shop when, just after 5:30, a man in a ski mask entered and ordered him and a customer to the ground. The masked man shot James twice, but police do not know why. Lewis had always said life was more important than money, and even the customer said he did not fight back.
James Lewis had a gentle soul; one that is mirrored by his wife, even now.
"I don't have vengeance in my heart to dwell on that," said Jean. "But, I just really don't want him to hurt anybody else or for another family to have to go through what my family went through."
Family includes Jean, her parents who have since passed on (her father who worked in the travel agency at the shop with James), her sisters, too, but also extended family, from their church to his customers. Jean hurts most of all, though. She lost her best friend.
"It's just been off and on very lonely," she explained, "not having him to go out to eat with or go to a movie with or go on vacations with. I have lots of friends that I travel with, but it's not the same."
If you have held on to information about this case for nearly two decades, now is the time to call Crime Stoppers.
"If it was your family," asks Jean, "wouldn't you want to know and wouldn't you want that person to be held responsible for what they did? My heart could be at peace knowing that he wouldn't hurt somebody again and you just have to think in your heart that you would be doing the right thing."
With Crime Stoppers, we will never ask your name, so your identity is safe. But, you do not have to know something about the killer or the crime to get in on the reward.
If you were in the area that evening in 2002 and remember seeing a vehicle quickly leaving the scene on Brainerd Road, or saw someone circling, maybe casing the place, that is important information, too.
Whatever you can recall, call Crime Stoppers at 423-698-3333.
That line is manned 24/7. Up to a $1000 reward is available.