2 suspects in the Fero's Bar and Grill killings expected in court on Friday
6:39 AM, Oct 19, 2012
4:04 PM, Oct 19, 2012
Two of the three suspects accused in the killings of five people and a cover-up fire at a Denver bar are due in court.
Police arrested Dexter Lewis, 22, and brothers Joseph Hill, 27, and Lynell Hill, 24, about 21 hours after the fire and homicides were discovered at Fero's Bar and Grill in Denver on Wednesday.
Dexter Lewis stood silently in court on Thursday as he was advised of the potential charges against him. He appeared in court in shackles. Lewis was tearful in court, looking back at his family members in the gallery and hanging his head.
Lynell Hill made his first appearance in Denver court Thursday, but he had no attorney, so his appearance was rescheduled for Friday morning. Joseph Hill is also scheduled to appear on Friday morning.
All three suspects are being held in jail without bond.
Denver police commander Lt. Ronald Saunier said he expects all three suspects to be charged with five counts of first-degree murder, five counts of felony murder, arson and aggravated robbery.
"The arson was set to cover up the crime scene," said Saunier.
"He didn't do it," his mother said. She added that Lewis is engaged and his fiancee is seven months pregnant with their child.
7NEWS has learned both Lewis and Lynell Hill have criminal histories in Colorado; Joseph Hill has no criminal record here.
In May 2009, Lewis was arrested in Jefferson County on several counts of assault on a police officer, court records show. He pleaded guilty to felony menacing involving a real or simulated weapon, and prosecutors dismissed the other charges.
In a separate 2009 case, Lewis pleaded guilty to felony robbery.
Lewis was sentenced to a total of three years in state prison and was on parole when he was arrested in the bar killings, court records show.
Lewis' parole conditions required him to stay out of bars, not drink alcohol, not drive and to attend sexual offender treatment. He was under the maximum level of parole supervision -- Intensive Supervised Parole -- which required him to have two in-person contacts with his parole officer each month, daily phone contact with that parole officer and take a weekly test for drug or alcohol use.
In August 2011, Lynell Hill was arrested on misdemeanor assault, reckless endangerment and harassment charges in Arapahoe County, court records say. He pleaded guilty to harassment involving physical force and was given a deferred nine-month sentence that allowed him to avoid jail if he stayed out of trouble.
At age 17, Lynell Hill was found guilty of bringing a weapon onto school grounds in North Carolina, court records show.
Joseph Hill, who calls himself a "singer songwriter" on his Facebook page, writes in a post, "Living each day I'm blessed with to the fullest. I'm learning to love me so i can love others. I think alot of us struggle with this whether you'll admit it or not."
“Im a great person to know, if you're genuine," Joseph Hill writes. "im very hardworking and dedicated, and very ambitious as well. im chasing my dreams and it's becoming clearer and clearer everyday, im enjoying living while im here and able. nothings promised or free so im grinding for mine."
A Glendale police officer driving on Colorado Boulevard Wednesday at 1:48 a.m. was the first person to report the fire.
When firefighters arrived, they found smoke coming from the back of the restaurant on Colorado Boulevard near Alameda Avenue. As firefighters were fighting the fire, they pulled the bodies of four women and one man from the fire, according to Denver fire Lt. Phil Champagne.
The Denver Medical Examiner's Office identified the victims as bar owner Young Fero, 63; Daria M. Pohl, 21; Kellene Fallon, 44; Ross Richter, 29; and Tereasa Beesley, 45.
Their manner of death was listed as homicide.
"They [the victims] did not perish in the fire," said Saunier.
Police are not saying how the victims died. However, Fero's brother told 7NEWS that police told him his sister had been shot.
Champagne said there was extensive damage inside the bar, even though on the outside all you could see were charred windows.
Champagne said the fire would have been difficult to survive even if the victims had suffered no trauma.
Saunier said the fire had been burning for 15 to 20 minutes before fire crews arrived.