Joseph Grant Lewis, 31, was arrested and charged with murder along with his 24-year-old cousin, Cliffton Rexford Akins, on Feb. 28.
Local law enforcement officials linked Akins and Lewis to the death of Brandon Davis Reid of Cordova.
Cordova police officers found Reid’s body on the front lawn of his home on Hill Street on Feb. 10. After ordering an autopsy, investigators learned Reid was beaten, stabbed 13 times and shot in the neck.
Reid’s son served as the prosecution’s primary witness. According to Walker County District Attorney Bill Adair, the son barricaded himself in the home for 10 hours before a passerby spotted Reid’s body and called 9-1-1.
“He (the son) will live with this the rest of his life; It’s like having a disability or living with a disease,” said Adair, whose father was killed in a 1981 home invasion.
Adair said he and investigators were astounded by the courage the four-year-old displayed.
“Seeing how brave this little boy was, it gives you more energy to do your job,” he said.
Lewis’s 25-year sentence was part of a plea deal he reached with prosecutors. As part of the agreement, Adair said Lewis was required to lead investigators to the area where he disposed of the gun used in the murder — a chrome-plated .380 automatic.
Adair said the evidence would have shown that Lewis helped obtain the gun, drove Akins to the crime scene and was present during the murder.
Akins was apprehended by police in LaFayette, La. in late February. He also reached a plea deal with the DA’s office and was sentenced to 40 years in prison on March 14.
When given a chance to speak after his sentencing, Lewis — like Akins — said he hopes the family can forgive him and his cousin.
Adair said Brandon Reid’s father, Ricky Reid, served as the representative for the victim’s family during court proceedings related to the case.
“It’s been very difficult for him, not just to mourn the loss of his son, but to take on that role for this family,” Adair said.
When asked for a comment, Rick Reid said, “I would just like to say I appreciate the work that the DA’s office, the Cordova Police Department and all other law enforcement agencies did in getting these people behind bars where they can’t hurt anybody else.”
In addition to DA investigators Frank Cole and John Softley, Adair said he wanted to commend the work of Cordova Police Chief Kenneth Bobo and Investigator Leonard Harvill, as well as investigators with the Walker County Sheriff’s Office. He also praised officials with the U.S. Marshals Service and Darryl Gurganus with the State Probation Office for helping apprehend Akins in Louisiana.
“They were relentless in this case,” Adair said.