Lacey man pleads not guilty to two murders, including his mother's

Staff writerOctober 8, 2013 

Members of the Thurston County Sheriff's and Prosecutor's offices begin their investigation at a home in the 4200 block of Foxhall Drive in Hawks Prairie Monday afternoon and have apprehended Tyler Lewis, who they believe is responsible for stabbing two people in the Lacey area this afternoon. One of the victims, believed to be Lewis' mother, was reported killed....Lewis also is suspected of stabbing an older man who uses a wheelchair who was found stabbed in the neck in his home in the 900 block of Marvin Road before 3 p.m. today.The older male victim in the wheelchair was in critical condition at Providence St. Peter Hospital Monday afternoon, Thurston County Sheriff's Sgt. Ray Brady said.

STEVE BLOOM — Staff photographer

Tyler Lewis, 30, of Lacey, entered not guilty pleas to two counts of first-degree murder and other charges Tuesday during his arraignment in Thurston County Superior Court.

Lewis is charged with fatally stabbing his 59-year-old mother, Frankie Austin, in her Foxhall Drive home on September 23, then going to an ex-neighbor's home on Marvin Road and repeatedly stabbing him with a screwdriver, court papers state.

Austin's husband found her dead in the home the afternoon of Sept. 23. Lewis' ex-neighbor, Charles "Wes" Simpson, 67, was discovered, alive, by a good Samaritan who was trying to corral Simpson's dog after she found the pet wandering into traffic on Marvin Road. Simpson died several days later from his injuries.

Sheriff's deputies who were investigating Simpson's stabbing on Sept. 23 had identified Lewis as a person of interest when Austin's husband called 911 after finding her dead in the garage. Austin's husband immediately told detectives he suspected Lewis was responsible, Sheriff's Sgt. Ray Brady has said.

Sheriff's deputies rushed from the scene of the Marvin Road stabbing to Austin's Foxhall Drive home. Lewis was pulled over in his pickup about 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 23 and placed under arrest across the street from his mother's home.

Sgt. Brady has said that Lewis has admitted to both crimes.

In addition to Lewis' two counts of first-degree murder, he additionally pleaded not guilty Tuesday to two other felonies - first-degree robbery and first-degree animal cruelty.

Lewis is charged with first-degree robbery for allegedly stealing a ring and other items from his mother's home. The first-degree animal cruelty charge stems from an allegation that Lewis killed his mother's dog, a Yorkshire terrier.

Lewis was being held Tuesday at the Thurston County Jail with bail set at $2 million. His trial date is tentatively scheduled for February, 2014.

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445 jpawloski@theolympian.com

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