An Oakland man faces life in prison after being convicted of murdering another man in an argument over a pit bull and raping a woman and a 16-year-old girl. Jurors on Wednesday convicted 20-year-old Marcellous Lewis of second-degree murder for fatally shooting 41-year-old Robert Tibbs in the 700 block of Lacey Avenue in Oakland at about 11:10 p.m. on May 21, 2008.
Jurors also convicted Lewis of rape and sexual penetration, along with kidnapping and multiple victim clauses for molesting the 16-year-old girl on the grounds of an Oakland church on Oct. 2, 2006. In addition, Lewis was convicted of rape, with additional kidnapping and multiple victim clauses, for raping a woman in Oakland on Aug. 26, 2007.
Prosecutor Tim Wellman said Lewis, who was armed with a .25-caliber semi-automatic handgun, went to Tibbs’ apartment late the night of May 21, 2008, to demand that Tibbs turn over a pit bull that had previously belonged to a friend of his. Lewis’ friend had given the dog to Tibbs and Tibbs’ fiancie shortly before the friend was killed in East Oakland, according to Wellman.
Tibbs and his fiancie had three children and the pit bull became their family dog, he said. Lewis’ attorney, Joann Kingston, said Lewis had gotten emotional and wanted the dog after seeing his dead friend’s photo in the Oakland Tribune that day when the newspaper ran its annual roundup of Oakland homicide victims.
But Wellman said Lewis had never previously contested the ownership of the dog or said he wanted to take care of it, Wellman said. After Tibbs refused to let Lewis into his house and turn over the dog, which was nicknamed “Cinnamon,” Lewis walked up to a front window, pulled out a semi-automatic handgun and shot twice into the apartment, hitting Tibbs in the chest, according to Wellman.
Tibbs was pronounced dead at Highland Hospital in Oakland about an hour later. Kingston claimed that Lewis acted in self-defense because Tibbs brandished a machete after Lewis threatened him. But Wellman said Lewis “was the aggressor” in the incident and didn’t act in self-defense.
Jurors agreed with Wellman and convicted Lewis after deliberating for less than two full days. Wellman said he’s “very pleased” with the verdict, while the defense attorney Kingston couldn’t be reached for comment today. Lewis is scheduled to be sentenced by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Joan Cartwright on Dec. 14.
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