Former AG candidate Hiram Lewis' arraignment on hold - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Former AG candidate Hiram Lewis' arraignment on hold

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Hiram Lewis appeared before Judge Jack Alsop for a March 26 arraignment hearing. Hiram Lewis appeared before Judge Jack Alsop for a March 26 arraignment hearing.
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A former Republican candidate for West Virginia attorney general accused of shooting another person in the leg will be arraigned April 17, after indictment issues arose out of the March 26 arraignment hearing.

Hiram Lewis was originally indicted in November on charges of malicious wounding, domestic assault and wanton endangerment involving a firearm.

Another indictment later was filed, keeping the charges of domestic assault and malicious wounding but dropping the wanton endangerment involving a firearm charge.

Lewis was arrested in June after he shot Steven Bogart in the leg. Lewis asserts the shooting was in self defense after Bogart tried to break into his home.

In his arraignment hearing, Clay County Prosecutor Jim Samples asked to exclude the lesser offense of wanton endangerment with a firearm and go with the greater charge of malicious wounding.

Judge Jack Alsop asked why the charge wasn't dismissed by motion. Samples answered he didn't want to anticipate how the court would rule on a motion to dismiss that count.

Samples said it has the same effect as a superseding indictment.

Alsop continued the hearing to allow the state to file a motion to dismiss. However, Lewis objected, saying he wanted to be tried on the first charge.

"I have a right, since we are here on the arraignment today, to dismiss and quash the indictment today," he said. "It should be dismissed because it is multiplicity."

In an interview after the hearing, Lewis expressed his frustrations.  

"I want to get this over with and clear my name," he said. "It's fundamentally flawed. … We want to go to trial and clear my name and prove my innocence in front of a jury."

Lewis asserts there are two indictments and if they continue, he will have multiple charges for the same offense.

"It's not prohibited to have multiple charges, but it should be clarified and fixed at the first instance that it's brought to the court's attention. I tried to do that today. The judge saw that and ordered a continuance of the arraignment today," Lewis said, noting he thinks the prosecutor should have dismissed the first indictment.

Lewis also mentioned civil proceedings going on in Clay County Circuit Court.

Bogart filed the two-page civil action against Lewis, saying he was an invited guest to Lewis' home and Lewis "negligently and or recklessly" shot him in the knee.

As a result, the suit continues, Bogart said he suffered debilitating and permanent physical injury and is confined to a wheelchair.

Lewis subsequently filed his answer and counterclaims against Bogart, former Clay County Sheriff Randy Holcomb, the West Virginia State Police and Samples. Samples recently was dismissed as a party in the suit.

His Jan. 23 answer says he was acting in self defense.

Lewis, who is acting as his own attorney, alleges Bogart became drunk, was asked to leave the property five times, verbally assaulted and threatened the neighbor, threatened Lewis and kicked open Lewis' dead-bolted door .

Lewis said he warned Bogart that if he busted open the door, he would be shot.

In his answer and counterclaims, Lewis alleged Bogart is a homeless individual that he allowed to stay on the screen porch of his rental but he would dead-bolt the doors to the main house each night.

Lewis alleges Bogart is a carpenter and plumber who was willing to work for a place to stay. Lewis said there was plumbing that needed to be done to his home and asserts Bogart requested to set up a tent in his yard so he could work on the home.

His answer and counterclaims assert that Bogart was intoxicated and arguing with a neighbor. Lewis said he calmed him down and got him to come inside and look at the bathroom for a plumbing job.

"While looking at the bathroom, Mr. Bogart grabbed Hiram Lewis on the right bicep muscle and squeezed real hard and while holding Mr. Lewis in place proceeded to cuss at Mr. Lewis and spit in his face," Lewis alleges.

Lewis said Bogart walked out of the home, which is when Lewis locked the door. He said he later tried to leave his bedroom and found Bogart used an extension cord to secure his bedroom door to the bathroom door. However, he got out through another doorway.

Lewis alleges that when he got out of the room, Bogart raced him back to the door and tried to prevent him from going back in the house.

At this time, Lewis alleges, Bogart was threatening to kill Lewis, so Lewis got his 9 mm firearm and watched Bogart from his kitchen window. 

Lewis said he started kicking at the door, which is when he alleges that he told Bogart if he did it again, he would shoot him. Lewis continues, alleging Bogart eventually kicked down the door and "charged in."

 "As soon as Mr. Bogart's foot hit the kitchen linoleum, Mr. Lewis stepped to the right, aimed the 9 mm at a spot above Mr. Bogart's knee, and discharged the weapon. Mr. Bogart stopped dead in his tracks and looked down at his leg. Mr. Bogart lurched forward at Mr. Lewis and continued his threat to kill Mr. Lewis. But as he lurched forward, his leg gave out and he spun around falling onto the screen porch," Lewis alleges.

Lewis said he tried to help Bogart but continues alleging that Bogart grabbed his necklace in an attempt to choke him.

Lewis' answer and counterclaims additionally claim he was wrongly arrested and detained. 

"My life is totally on hold," Lewis said after the March 26 hearing. "I'm stuck in my home. I can't practice law. … My life is just totally on hold as long as trying to prosecute me for something I shouldn't have even been arrested for in the very beginning."