Police said they found suspected marijuana on Tremaine Lebis’ body after he was shot Dec. 17, 2012. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)
JONESBORO — Clayton County police Officer Sean Callahan was able to fire four rounds at his assailant before falling over an embankment wall, wounded from a single gunshot, evidence showed Friday.
A crime scene technician testified that only 11 bullets remained in Callahan’s 15-round magazine when it was recovered from the crime scene Dec. 17, 2012.
Prosecutors said Callahan died after being shot once by parolee Tremaine Lynn Lebis, 41. Lebis was running from Callahan and Officer Waymando Brown, who were trying to arrest him for alleged damage to a room at Motel 6 in Stockbridge. The three ended up running single file behind Building 500, with Callahan in the middle, when Lebis pulled a handgun, turned and began firing at the officers.
Technicians recovered shells from a .357-caliber gun and two .40-caliber handguns, believed to be from Callahan’s and Brown’s guns, and determined Callahan was able to fire four shots before being shot and falling over an embankment wall.
There was just one round left in Brown’s magazine, the technician testified.
Lebis was shot and killed at the scene but Callahan lived another 14 hours before dying the next morning. He was 24 and the only son of Darlene Rogers of Kennesaw.
Lebis’ wife of six months, Lisa Ann Davis Lebis, was nearby when the shooting occurred and has been indicted for alleged felonies being committed on the motel property.
Lebis, 41, is being prosecuted for Callahan’s death under Georgia’s party to a crime law, which allows alleged accomplices to be held accountable when someone dies during the commission of a felony even if that person didn’t pull the trigger.
Testimony began Tuesday, with jurors seeing Brown re-enact the shooting with District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson and Assistant District Attorney Jeff Gore. They also viewed Callahan’s autopsy photos and heard from the medical examiner.
Jurors watched a video Friday morning of a handcuffed Lisa Lebis interacting with emergency medical personnel and Clayton County police Detective Joanne Southerland inside an interview room at police headquarters about 90 minutes after the shooting. She was initially charged with kicking and hitting a Clayton County sheriff’s deputy arresting her. Felonies were added later.
Much like her demeanor throughout the trial, Lebis’ mood fluctuates in the video between a quiet calm and emotional upheaval. It is obvious she doesn’t yet know her husband is dead, despite being within yards of his body at the motel, and asks once about Callahan.
“Did he kill that cop?” she asked Southerland, who told her she was unaware of what was going on, that officers were still at the motel. There was a ray of hope, however, she said.
“I know the officer is in surgery,” said Southerland. “The officer is not dead, which is a good thing.”
Lebis then asked, “Is my husband OK?”
“I don’t know,” said Southerland.
As long as Southerland talked to her, Lebis seemed calm. However, left on her own, Lebis was yelling, cursing, threatening and tossing chairs around.
“I’m (five months) pregnant and I’m miscarrying because of y’all (expletive),” she shouted. “Oh yeah, Clayton County is gonna be sued if I lose my baby. I can’t help what my husband done. That’s him, not me.”
Lebis paced back and forth, shouting for someone to come talk to her.
“I’m fixing to get irate in here, man,” she said. “You brought me to jail and I ain’t even do nothing. I was just trying to get my stuff out of the motel room and they call the police on me? I didn’t have no weapons. All I was doing was using the phone to call my son and someone wants to throw me on the ground? Hello?”
A doctor testified Thursday that tests taken a day or two within the time Lebis was booked into jail showed she was not pregnant and had not been pregnant for at least several weeks. In fact, when Southerland called for EMTs in response to Lebis’ concerns, Lebis refused to be transported to a hospital.
“I just wanna go home,” she said, crying. “I ain’t done nothing wrong. I can’t help one of your police officers got shot. It had nothing to do with me. I need to go home and check on my babies. You are all fixing to piss me off. I didn’t do nothing wrong.”
Lebis told the EMTs she’s had seven miscarriages and two children, who are 23 and 21. She also claimed to be diabetic, have a bad heart and suffering from seizures.
It is obvious Southerland has a soothing effect on Lebis.
“You’re the best Clayton County cop I know,” she said. “I don’t know too many but you’re the best one I know.”
Previous testimony shows Lebis has been convicted of four felonies, which makes her eligible for a sentence without parole under Georgia’s “three strikes” law, if she is convicted.
During the casual conversation with Southerland, Lebis tells her she married Tremaine Lebis June 9, 2012, at her home and that they live on Turner Road in McDonough.
“We’ve been together three years but just got married,” said Lebis. “He’s my ex-husband’s cousin.”
Georgia Department of Corrections records show Tremaine Lebis was released on parole from prison in May 2012 after serving 15 years for aggravated assault after shooting someone in the head — locked up since he was about 25.
Later, Lebis again mentioned her husband.
“I’m just upset because my husband shot a police officer and he’s going to jail for the rest of his life,” she said.
Immediately after saying she was upset, Lebis was joking.
“I’m glad this isn’t the old days,” she said, prompting Southerland to murmur, “It’s 2012.” “In the old days, that cop who threw me on the ground? I’d have kicked his ass.”
In the next minute or two, Lebis told an EMT worker she has a bad heart and seizures.
“If something happens and my baby don’t make it, it’s God’s will,” said Lebis. “I’ve had seven (miscarriages), so.”
Lebis told Southerland she and her husband lived in McDonough and they were on vacation at Motel 6 in Stockbridge.
“We’re just getting away for a vacation,” she said.
Motel workers testified Tuesday that Lebis told them her “whole life” was inside Room 226. The couple didn’t have a car, either.
She also expressed concern about three pit bulldogs she and Tremaine Lebis were keeping inside the room.
“If I can get to the motel and get my dogs and stuff and get to McDonough, I’ll keep my ass out of Stockbridge,” said Lebis, oblivious to the seriousness of the situation. “I don’t want nothing to happen to my dogs. They’re my babies.”
Lebis is being represented by defense attorney Kenneth Ellis. It was unclear Friday if Lebis would take the stand to defend herself or exercise her right against self-incrimination. She faces life without parole if convicted of murder.