Connect with us

Métis Nation Saskatchewan Business Magazine | Sask Métis News | Métis Nation Entrepreneurs

Métis Nation Saskatchewan Business Magazine | Sask Métis News | Métis Nation Entrepreneurs

Toronto man who fired six times in daylight shooting acquitted of first-degree murder


Entrepreneurs

Toronto man who fired six times in daylight shooting acquitted of first-degree murder

A Toronto jury has acquitted a man of first-degree murder, accepting that he was acting in self-defence when he fired six shots into 30-year-old Michael Lewis, including two into his head, in broad daylight in a crowded lakefront park.

The defendant, Andrew Douglas, 29, is the older brother of murdered Regent Park rapper Smoke Dawg. During a two-week trial, the prosecution argued Douglas went armed to a memorial barbecue at Coronation Park on Sept. 2, 2018, intending to kill Lewis for disrespecting his dead brother, whose name was Jahvante Smart.

Prosecutors alleged Douglas approached Lewis, spoke to him briefly, and shot him dead within six minutes of arriving at the barbecue. Two witnesses testified Lewis was on the ground when he was shot in the head, and a third said was he was trying to stand when Douglas held him by the scruff of his collar and shot him again.

But defence lawyer Richard Posner told the Superior Court jury the revenge motive was illogical and that the evidence showed it was Lewis, paranoid after stealing his gold chain back from Smart, who was armed when he confronted Douglas at the barbecue.

“They (jurors) absolutely accepted that it was self-defence,” Posner said Saturday, adding it was a “hard-fought case by both sides.” The jury must also have believed Douglas’s testimony that he wrangled the gun away from Lewis, and then used it to pump six bullets into Lewis, who Posner said continued to fight back “until the very, very end.”

“It’s important to know that Mr. Douglas weighed 140 pounds and Mr. Lewis weighed 200 pounds,” Posner said. There was also evidence “indicative of (Douglas’s) innocent purpose of going to barbecue,” such as surveillance video showing him spritzing himself with cologne before going to the park.

“You don’t want to smell good and sexy if you’re going to kill somebody,” Posner said.

At one point during three days of deliberations this week, the jury came into court deadlocked. Jurors asked to listen again to eyewitness accounts of the shooting and to part of Douglas’s testimony. But a consensus was reached and jurors delivered their verdict Saturday morning, stunning members of Lewis’s family.

“Disappointed doesn’t begin to capture how they feel while continuing to grieve Michael’s loss,” homicide Det. Sgt. Amanda Thornton said Saturday.

Despite his acquittal, Douglas is not a free man. He is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence for a gunpoint home invasion and robbery in 2013. Following a trial, he was convicted in 2019 of being one of three armed men who entered a man’s apartment to steal money and drugs. The victim was shot when he tried to escape. He suffered life-threatening injuries but survived.

The jury in the first-degree murder case was told only that Douglas had been convicted of obstructing a peace officer and theft that earned him a penitentiary sentence.

THE MOST POWERFUL SALE & AFFILIATE PLATFORM AVAILABLE!

There's no credit card required! No fees ever.

Create Your Free Account Now!

Posner declined to discuss specifics and said the home invasion case is under appeal.

He said his client is “very grateful to the ladies and gentlemen of the jury and … expresses his deep condolences to the (Lewis) family.”

The prosecution has not indicated if it will appeal.

At the time of the shooting it had been only two months since Douglas’s brother, a rising star rapper, and his manager had been gunned down on Queen Street West after returning from an overseas tour with Drake. (Earlier this year, Abdulkadhir Handule was convicted of two counts of second-degree murder for that shooting. He is serving a life sentence.)

Crown prosecutor Karen Simone said Douglas, devastated and angry over his brother’s murder, wanted to get back at Lewis for humiliating Smoke Dawg earlier that year in a series of events centring on a chunky gold chain with a pendant of the Toronto skyline, the slogan “All Money In” and the city’s primary area code, 416.

The prosecution alleges the chain initially belonged to Lewis but somehow ended up with Smoke Dawg (it is agreed that Smoke Dawg did not steal the chain).

In 2017, Lewis publicly snatched the chain — which his girlfriend called “his pride” — back from Smoke Dawg and, shortly after, a rival rapper Vanauley Stacks started flaunting the distinctive necklace on social media, leaving Smoke Dawg and Douglas furious, the Crown argued.

Lewis became worried about his safety and mostly stopped going downtown, his girlfriend Emily Chamberlain testified. She was pregnant with his baby and was also at the barbecue during the fatal confrontation. Lewis was one of the organizers of the barbecue, held for nine years in honour of his murdered friend Kamal Hercules.

Chamberlain testified after she heard gunshots, she turned and saw Lewis cover his face and heard him say “no” while on the ground and defenceless before the shooter fired two final shots into his head. Posner argued Chamberlain actually saw Lewis assault Douglas and produce a gun but did not want to besmirch the reputation and memory of the father of her child.

Alyshah Hasham is a Toronto-based reporter covering crime and court for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @alysanmati

Betsy Powell is a Toronto-based reporter covering crime and courts for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @powellbetsy

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe

Metis Studies

Online Entrepreneurs

Top Stories

To Top