Judge Sentences Defendant to 102 Months for Killing Cousin

On Sept. 15, DC Superior Court Judge Maribeth Raffinan sentenced defendant Lewkus Turner to 102 months of incarceration followed by five years of supervised release.

Turner, 29, was originally charged with second-degree murder and two counts of possession of a firearm for the fatal shooting of his cousin, 26-year-old Vincent Gyamfi. The incident, triggered by an Instagram post, occurred on Dec. 11, 2020 on the 2900 block of S Street, SE.

The prosecution asked for a maximum sentence, detailing a crime they believed required final and “serious resolution.” They told the court they did not feel the lower end of the sentencing guidelines was appropriate in this case.

A letter written by the maternal aunt of both the victim and defendant described the “heart-stabbing and numbing” experience of learning about Turner’s actions. The letter underscored how killing a cousin “in cold blood” who had been by Turner’s side “since day one” hurt her “to her soul.”

She prayed for the court to impose a maximum sentence against her nephew, saying a dark soul “deserves nothing less.”

Then, in court, the aunt said she “forgive[s] Lewkus,” but the incident “tore [their] family apart.” In light of the impact of Turner’s actions, she asked for a maximum sentence: “a life for a life.”

Another letter from the grandmother of both the victim and defendant highlighted the betrayal and agony that “cut [her] to the core.” She wrote about the unimaginable pain and disbelief her grandson must have felt in his final moments. Her letter declared that justice had not been served, and achieving justice may be impossible.

Gyamfi’s sister then made an impactful statement before the court, emphasizing how there was no “win-win situation.” She wished Turner had expressed “a little bit of remorse,” which she claimed he had not done. In closing, she joined her family members in requesting a maximum sentence for her cousin.

Turner himself also addressed the court, expressing the numbness he felt after his cousin’s death. Losing someone that close “hits different,” he said. Additionally, Turner said that he “need[s] a therapist to speak to” after three years of detainment, an issue addressed by the intervention plan accompanying his sentence.

Turner’s attorney, Gemma Stevens, argued Turner “is not a violent man” and “is planning to file an appeal in this case.” She urged Judge Raffinan to consider a five-year sentence, stating that the family’s loss cannot be measured in Turner’s time.

Before imposing a sentence, Judge Raffinan first said that nothing can erase the memory of this “unfathomable death.” She said her decision takes into account Turner’s criminal history and the fact that Turner is set to receive mental health treatment while incarcerated.

Judge Raffinan sentenced Turner to 102 months incarceration followed by five years of supervised release for the first charge, voluntary manslaughter while armed. For the second charge, possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, she sentenced him to 60 months followed by three years of supervised release. The third charge was unlawful possession of a firearm, for which the defendant had a prior conviction. For this charge, Judge Raffinan sentenced Turner to 12 months followed by three years of supervised release.

These sentences will run concurrently, and the defendant must pay $300—$100 for each charge—to the Victims of Violent Crime compensation fund before a March 15, 2032 deadline. 

In addition, Turner will be required to remain registered as a gun offender until two years after his supervisory release period is complete.

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