The only person charged with last week’s fatal home invasion made his first court appearance Wednesday.
Aaron Lewis, 29, of Lexington, is being held on a $250,000 cash bond while facing murder and first-degree burglary charges for the May 23 incident on Redwing Drive.
Lewis said nothing during his arraignment as the judge entered an automatic not guilty plea and scheduled a preliminary hearing for June 8.
Lewis was charged the day after the shooting, while he was still recovering from a gunshot wound in the University of Kentucky Medical Center, Winchester Police Capt. James Hall said. When he was released from the hospital May 26, he was arrested and placed in the Clark County Detention Center.
Neighbors called Winchester Police after hearing gunshots from the residence shortly after 1 a.m. May 23. When officers arrived, they found 29-year-old Philip Howard and 24-year-old Demontez Cowherd inside the duplex, both with gunshot wounds. Howard told officers that Cowherd broke into his home and shot him. Winchester Police Capt. James Hall said Howard defended himself, but died from his wounds at Clark Regional Medical Center. Cowherd died later in the University of Kentucky Medical Center.
Hall said at least five shots were fired inside the home. Two handguns, one belonging to Cowherd and the other to Howard, were recovered from the scene, along with evidence of a third weapon.
Neighbors reported seeing a man in a black mask carrying a high-powered rifle running from the scene as well as a Dodge Magnum driving at a high rate of speed through the neighborhood.
About 20 minutes after the shooting was reported, a man with a gunshot wound showed up at St. Joseph East Hospital in Lexington, police said. Surveillance video from the hospital showed a Dodge Magnum at the emergency entrance when Lewis arrived, according to court documents
Lewis later told police that he was not in Clark County or Winchester at the time of the home invasion. He said he was shot on Tates Creek Road in Lexington, but could not provide any details of the incident. He also could not identify who brought him to the hospital.
The car appearing on the surveillance video, which was registered to Cowherd’s girlfriend, was located later that night on Bourbon Street in Lexington. Lexington Police processed the car and found blood in the back seat, as well as other evidence that linked Cowherd to the vehicle, Hall said. The owner, Ann-gelica White, had reported the vehicle stolen.
Cell phone records obtained by Winchester Police indicated that Lewis was on his cell phone, which used a Winchester cell tower, 11 minutes before the shooting was reported.
So far, police have not established a motive for the shooting. Nothing appeared to be missing from the home, Hall said. Neither Cowherd nor Lewis has a criminal record in Clark County, but Hall believes all three were acquainted with each other.
Police believe there are other people who were involved in the shooting, but no one else has been charged.
Contact Fred Petke at firstname.lastname@example.org.