Former NFL player Ray Lewis is one of the contestants on Season 28 of Dancing with the Stars. He is known for the time he played with the Baltimore Ravens, but he is also known for being involved in a murder trial nearly 20 years ago.
As the Baltimore Sun detailed, Lewis was involved in a fight that occurred during a January 2000 Super Bowl party in Atlanta, Georgia. Richard Lollar and Jacinth Baker were stabbed and died as a result of the fight, and Lewis was indicted after the fight along with two acquaintances. The NFL player ended up facing charges of aggravated assault as well as murder.
According to coverage from CBS Baltimore, the trial against Lewis and his companions Joseph Sweeting and Reginald Oakley started, but Lewis soon flipped and testified against the other two men. He agreed to a deal that involved an obstruction of justice charge and a commitment to testify against the other two defendants.
After the case went to the jury, they deliberated for a few hours before acquitting both Sweeting and Oakley. The jury determined that the deaths were a result of the two men defending themselves.
Lewis reportedly hadn’t actually been involved in the fight in Atlanta. However, it’s said that he made the other men promise to stay quiet about what happened once they were all together in the limousine after the fight. In addition, he lied to the police the next morning when he was initially questioned about the incident.
The New York Post noted that Lewis didn’t play in that Super Bowl. Rather, he was in town to party. He brought a personal driver and rented a Lincoln Navigator that he used to drive him around with his crew into the wee hours of the morning.
Lewis was joined by a new female acquaintance, Jessica Robertson, rather than his pregnant fiancee that night. Sweeting was a strip-club promoter who had known Lewis since their college days and Oakley was a friend of a friend. The day before the fatal fight, the three men had gone to a Sports Authority store together and the other two men reportedly bought folding knives.
The NFL player was then just 24-years-old and he was with a group of about 10 people partying together that night in Atlanta. Around 3:30 a.m., the group went outside and started tangling with another group of about the same size.
Oakley seemingly was butting heads with two people from the other group and he got hit across the head with a champagne bottle. That’s when things spiraled out of control, although Lewis insisted he was leaning against the limousine by himself.
Once the two men were stabbed, Lewis yelled at his group to get into the limo and they raced away. People fired gunshots at the limo as it sped off and when police tracked it down it had blood inside of it and bullet holes on the exterior. The driver was found in a hotel lobby, filled with anxiety, and he told the police what he’d seen and heard.
Ray was already playing with the Ravens at that point, and he continued to play for them for years after the murder trial was held. The families of the dead men later filed civil suits against Lewis and they were settled with confidentiality agreements tied to them.
How will Dancing with the Stars viewers respond to Lewis being a part of Season 28? He’s certainly a controversial casting pick, but fans have also been quite outspoken about Sean Spicer joining the cast too. The Inquisitr previously shared that Ray is paired with Cheryl Burke this fall and their pairing was the first one of Season 28 to be leaked.
Can Ray Lewis put the remaining buzz related to this murder trial behind him and garner enough votes to stick around for a while this fall? Everybody will get a sense of how this will go for him during Monday night’s DWTS premiere and he will surely have people talking.