LEWISTON — Jurors in north-central Idaho convicted a 17-year-old boy of first-degree murder after about three hours of deliberation on Thursday.
Demetri Ewing and his father Clyde Ewing were both charged with first-degree murder in connection with the Jan. 8, 2021, shooting death of Samuel Johns, the Lewiston Tribune reported. Clyde Ewing has pleaded not guilty and his trial is scheduled to begin May 16.
Ewing, who was 16 at the time of the shooting, was charged as an adult and could face up to life in prison when he is sentenced in June.
During Demetri Ewing’s nearly two-week trial, Nez Perce County prosecutors said the father and son were in the midst of a family dispute over a missing gun and an Army bag that had belonged to Clyde Ewing’s late father. Prosecutors said the pair believed the bag had been left at Johns’ home, so they left their motel in Clarkston, Washington, and rode bicycles to Johns’ residence in the neighboring town of Lewiston, Idaho.
Nez Perce County Prosecutor Justin Coleman said the Ewings used zipper-style cable ties to bind the hands of a woman in the home, and that one of them shot and killed Johns. Under Idaho law, prosecutors are not required to prove which defendant killed someone, only that a person was killed in the process of another planned felony like a burglary.
“It means it doesn’t matter who pulled the trigger,” Coleman told the jury during closing arguments. “Demetri Ewing is guilty of first-degree murder.”
Demetri Ewing’s attorney Lawrence Moran told the jurors that the prosecution didn’t meet the required “burden of proof” to find his client guilty. He noted that the woman who called 911 after the shooting told investigators the crime was committed by a man and a woman, and described the woman as much taller than Demetri Ewing and as having an hourglass figure. He also said the alleged motive didn’t make sense.
“He’s not a woman with an hourglass figure,” Moran told jurors. “Demetri Ewing was a 16-year-old kid who couldn’t care less about an Army bag.”
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