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Teen charged with murder

Victim, 65, was trying to break up party

An 18-year-old man accused of killing a Veterans Affairs Medical Center employee who was trying to break up an underage drinking party has been charged with murder.

Treven Lewis, who is in jail, is expected to appear before a Spokane County Superior Court judge on the new charge of second-degree murder as early as today, where he’ll be assigned a future court date and will have an opportunity to ask for a reduced bail.

Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Mark Cipolla filed the charge on Monday after an autopsy by the Medical Examiner’s Office concluded Frank J. Motta, 65, died of contusions to the brain because of blunt head injuries. His manner of death was ruled homicide. Lewis had been jailed on a first-degree assault charge since March 13.

Lewis is accused of beating Motta as Motta tried to clear out a party thrown March 10 by a neighbor’s son in the 11800 block of North Bedivere Drive in north Spokane County. He went to the house at the request of his neighbor, who was out of town.

Witnesses told deputies Lewis pushed Motta to the ground and punched him in the head after Motta nudged Lewis’ girlfriend while telling her and other guests to leave, according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

Motta, a Vietnam War veteran and retired principal who had recently begun working part time at the VA, died Thursday night at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.

Court records show Lewis’ criminal history began at a young age.

He was accused of damaging a car when he was 12, which was followed by arrests for robbery, harassment, marijuana possession, obstructing law enforcement, and malicious mischief, as well as numerous arrests for assault.

Lewis repeatedly violated his juvenile probation by skipping school, smoking marijuana and failing to check in with his probation officer. He also failed to complete an “aggression replacement training class” in April 2008, according to court documents.

His most recent adult felony conviction came last June when he pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary for an incident in May 2010 in which he chased his girlfriend into her neighbor’s home while carrying a shovel and threatening to kill her, according to court records.

Lewis pushed open the door to the home and hit the woman repeatedly before he was removed by the homeowner’s 16-year-old son. Lewis then threw a brick through the front window.

Lewis was arrested again just one day after he pleaded guilty, accused of assaulting the homeowner in an early morning attack that left her needing stitches. Lewis was jailed on a second-degree assault charge, but he was released after posting $5,000 bond on July 8. He was awaiting a May trial date when he was identified as a suspect in Motta’s fatal beating.

The girlfriend targeted by Lewis in May 2010 is not the same woman Lewis was with when he allegedly delivered the punch that killed Motta. Lewis has been with that woman since at least last summer, when he was cited for misdemeanor domestic violence and she was listed as the victim. The charge was dismissed because of lack of evidence, according to court records.

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