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Jury ends week without verdict for Lebis

Sean 
Callahan

Sean Callahan

photo

Lisa Lebis

JONESBORO — A Clayton County jury will return Monday to resume deliberations in the case of a McDonough woman charged with murder in the shooting death of a police officer.

The jury has deliberated more than 15 hours over three days without reaching a verdict on 16 counts, which include felony murder. It is the longest a Clayton County jury has deliberated a case in recent memory, said District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson.

Lisa Lebis is charged as a party to the crimes committed by her dead husband, Tremaine Lebis, 41.

Jurors sent word just before 5 p.m. that they had reached a unanimous verdict on all charges and filled out the verdict form. After that was done, a lone juror changed his or her mind on each and every count, according to the note read by Superior Court Judge Albert Collier.

Collier told them to continue deliberating and return Monday at 9 a.m.

Prosecutors said Tremaine Lebis shot Clayton County police Officer Sean Callahan, 24, while running from him and another officer, Waymando Brown, Dec. 17, 2012. Callahan died the next day.

Brown and Callahan returned fire and Tremaine Lebis died at the scene, a Motel 6 in Stockbridge.

The jury began deliberations Monday, continued all day Tuesday and returned Friday after taking a two-day break because of inclement weather. Also Tuesday, a juror was removed because he told Collier that he had to take a college exam Friday and wouldn’t be able to return for deliberations.

When jurors returned about 9 a.m. Friday, Collier told them to start over again with the alternate.

Throughout the day, they alerted Collier several times to questions they had, including whether or not they could consider Lisa Lebis’ mental state based on her jail intake form. Collier told them they could not after consulting with Lawson, her co-counsel, Jeff Gore, and defense attorney Kenneth Ellis.

Lawson argued that Lebis’ mental state was never raised by the defense and is therefore not at issue. Ellis said he thought her mental state could be considered.

“The intake form is self-serving anyway,” said Lawson. “Those are things she told the jail was wrong with her, diabetes and other things, which she doesn’t have. She’s just a liar.”

Lisa Lebis spoke loudly from her seat, “You don’t know what I have.”

However, no evidence was presented at trial that Lebis suffers from a mental condition.

They also wondered whether the state had to prove that Lisa Lebis used one or both words she is accused of screaming at two motel workers the day of the shooting.

Lawson acknowledged to jurors that Lisa Lebis didn’t pull the trigger. However, she and Gore presented testimony and evidence to show that Lebis knew her husband was armed and didn’t warn police, and that she hindered Brown administering CPR and first aid to Callahan after he was shot.

When police searched the couple’s motel room, they found an arsenal of weapons, including a handgun reported stolen from DeKalb County, and ammunition. Neither was supposed to possess firearms because of their criminal histories. Tremaine Lebis spent about 20 years in prison for shooting someone in the head in Gwinnett County in 1992.

As a four-time convicted felon herself, Lisa Lebis faces life in prison without parole if convicted of murder. If jurors reject the murder charge but hold her accountable for the other 15 charges, she faces up to 52 years in prison without parole under Georgia’s “three strikes” law.

Callahan’s mother, Darlene Rogers, and her family and friends were back at the courthouse Friday, waiting for a verdict. They attended every day of the trial, which began Feb. 3 with jury selection.

Callahan would have turned 26 today.