Ray Lewis’ murder accusation

On January 31, 2000, current Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis was reported to have been a part of a fight that caused death of two men.  The fight resulted in the stabbing of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar.  Although Lewis was never proven guilty of the murders, many are still asking the question, “Did he do it?”

According to Sports Illustrated, the fight took place at a Super Bowl party in Atlanta, Georgia.  Shortly after the murders, the Atlanta Police Department interrogated Lewis as well as two of his friends, Reginald Oakley and Joseph Sweeting.  Oakley and Sweeting were also reported to have been involved in the brawl.  11 days after the party, all 3 of them were indicted on murder and aggravated assault charges.

There was not much evidence against Lewis, Oakley, or Sweeting.  CNN states that Lewis was reported to have been wearing a white suit at the party.  However, that suit was never recovered.  The prosecution accused Lewis of intentionally destroying the suit so that it couldn’t be used against him in court.

Lewis and his attorneys negotiated a plea agreement with the prosecution in which Lewis would provide his testimony against his two friends, and in exchange, his murder charges would be dropped.  The only charge he was proven guilty of was obstruction of justice.  Lewis confessed that he gave a misleading statement to Atlanta Police.

Ray Lewis received 12 months of probation from the obstruction of justice charge, which was the maximum punishment allowed.  He was also fined $250,000 by the NFL.  At the time, this was the largest fine a player had received from the NFL that hadn’t involved drugs.

Both Oakley and Sweeting were found not guilty of their murder charges.  In Lewis’s testimony against them, he never directly linked them to the actual killings.  The only evidence the prosecution was able to gather from his testimony was when Lewis stated they were at the party when Baker and Lollar were killed and immediately fled.  Lewis also testified that he, Oakley and Sweeting went to a sporting goods store to buy knives prior to attending the party.