Crime

Judge to decide case of University Place man accused of killing roommate

Cory Randon Lewis and Cory Page shared more than a first name.

They were roommates. Both had a passion for music.

And on the night of Dec. 7, 2014, police say, each had a gun.

Lewis fired his, and the 30-year-old is nearing the end of his trial on charges of second-degree murder and unlawful gun possession in Page’s death.

In his closing argument Monday, defense attorney John McNeish said Lewis fatally shot Page, 32, at their University Place home in self-defense, after Page became inexplicably angry about clothing Lewis borrowed from him.

Deputy prosecutor Lori Kooiman said that if that was the case, Lewis would have gone to police instead of fleeing. Also, he would have given them his gun, instead of tossing it into Snake Lake in Tacoma.

Page had waved a gun at Lewis that night and challenged him to a fistfight, she said. When Lewis returned the clothing they had argued about, Kooiman said, Page went into his room and stopped being a threat.

That, Kooiman said, is when Lewis picked up his own gun, which he wasn’t supposed to have because of prior felony convictions, walked into Page’s room and shot him once in the shoulder and once in the chest.

Upon seeing Lewis’ gun, or after the first shot, Page said either “Stop playing” or “chill,” Kooiman told the court.

“He was left there to die,” she said.

Lewis called 911 several days later to say he had come home to find his roommate dead, according to charging papers.

The next month, when he asked police to return a computer they had seized, they had him take a polygraph test, which he failed. Detectives then dug deeper into his story, court records state.

McNeish argued Page was a man who was quickly angered, and that he and Lewis had fought before during the year they lived together.

But there is no evidence Lewis wanted to kill Page, the lawyer argued, especially over a couple of shirts and a pair of shorts.

“That would be no reason to kill somebody,” McNeish said.

He indicated a lack of trust in police led Lewis to flee after the shooting.

“Young black males have had a difficult time dealing with the police (across the United States),” McNeish said. “He was afraid.”

Because Lewis is being tried in what’s known as a bench trial, Judge Jack Nevin, rather than a jury, will determine whether the self-defense case is valid and then decide whether Lewis is guilty.

Family members of both men attended court Monday, but declined to be interviewed.

Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268, @amkrell

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