Lashawn Lewis is behind bars for murdering her mother, Lateyfa Lewis, at her home in Buffalo, New York, during what police officials believe was a violent attack.
On Aug. 4, 2005, Lateyfa, 50, was found dead inside the bedroom of her home at 97 Orange Street.
She had been stabbed more than 40 times with a knife throughout her body, including her chest, where a portion of the knife had broken off.
According to The Buffalo News, Lateyfa fought for her life, as she sustained a number of defensive wounds during the attack.
Investigators scoured Lateyfa’s house for evidence, but at that time, nothing at the scene led them to the person responsible for her death, and her case ultimately turned cold.
In 2017, nearly 13 years after Lateyfa was murdered, investigators received a break in the case when evidence at the crime scene led them to her then-40-year-old daughter, Lashawn.
Investigators said a distinctive elephant earring belonging to Lashawn was found under her mother’s body, and droplets of Lateyfa’s blood were found on the back of Lashawn’s shirt.
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn asserted that the shirt could have only obtained the victim’s blood if she was stabbing her mother with her arm moving in an upward and downward motion, causing blood to splatter in various directions.
There was no evidence of forced entry, the police said, and Lashawn was the only person with the key to her mother’s house.
The motive for the killing is unknown. But investigators surmise that the mother and daughter got into an argument about money because Lashawn supposedly had a drug habit.
Lashawn was in custody at Erie County Jail on an unrelated drug charge when she was struck with second-degree murder in connection with her mother’s death.
She later pleaded not guilty to the charges.
At her sentencing, Lashawn maintained her innocence. She said: “There’s no one that misses my mother more probably [SIC] than me. She was my best friend.”
“She was my strength. There’s no way on earth that I could have taken her life.”
In July 2018, Lashawn’s trial ended in a hung jury, WIVB 4 reported. She was then granted a retrial two months later. It was there that a jury unanimously found her guilty of murdering her mother.
On Nov. 8, 2018, State Supreme Court Justice Christopher J. Burns sentenced Lashawn to 25 years to life in prison.
After her sentencing, she spat into the gallery as she was being escorted out of the courtroom. Family members said they weren’t at all surprised by her behavior, as they described her as a “nasty person.”
Lateyfa’s daughter-in-law stated that the prison sentence gave her “a little bit of closure,” but she wishes she had her “mother back.”
Buffalo investigators took over a decade to solve Lateyfa’s murder, but Flynn said, “No matter how many years have passed, my office will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute all cold case homicides committed in Erie County.”