Man sentenced to 78 years in shooting outside Lafayette Walmart
LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WISH) — A 29-year-old man was sentenced Monday to 78 years in prison after pleading guilty to the murder of his girlfriend in September in the parking lot of Walmart, the Tippecanoe County prosecutor says.
Anthony Joseph Perez, who did not have a home address in court records, was charged in September with two counts of felony murder, one felony count of attempted kidnapping while armed with a deadly weapon, one felony count of attempted kidnapping resulting in serious bodily injury, one felony count of attempted criminal confinement while armed with a deadly weapon, one felony count of attempted criminal confinement resulting in serious bodily injury, one felony count of unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, one felony count of intimidation with a deadly weapon, one felony count of pointing a firearm, one felony count of unlawful possession of a firearm, one felony count of unlawful carrying of a handgun with a prior felony conviction, and one misdemeanor count of possession of a firearm by a domestic batterer.
Perez pleaded guilty to murder and a firearm use enhancement, Tippecanoe County Prosecutor Patrick Harrington said.
Lafayette Police Department was called just after 8:35 p.m. Sept. 4 to a reported shooting in parking lot of the Walmart at 4205 Commerce Drive, court documents showed. The store is southeast of the I-65 interchange for State Road 26 and South Street.
Bystanders and officers rendered aid to Casey Marie Lewis, who died at the scene with a gunshot wound, the prosecutor and coroner say.
During the investigation, detectives learned Lewis and Perez were in a relationship.
Surveillance footage from inside the Walmart shows Perez and Lewis shopping together prior to the incident. The two are seen separately exiting the Walmart and going to a silver van registered to Lewis. Several minutes later, Lewis is seen walking to the back of the van and collapsing to the ground.
On Sept. 6, investigators found Perez in Little Rock, Arkansas, and arrested him.
In Arkansas, Perez told investigators he and Lewis were arguing inside the store about money issues. A news release from the prosecutor said, “After they returned to Lewis’ van, Perez said he was in the front passenger seat and Lewis was in the back of the van. Perez said Lewis was screaming at him and he was concerned it would draw attention to them and police would be called. Perez said when Lewis would not drive them away from the Walmart, he got his handgun out of the glove box to intimidate Lewis. Perez said he fired a shot inside the van to show Lewis he was serious about wanting to leave. However, Lewis got out of the van. When Lewis started towards the rear of the van, Perez said he fired the gun again. Perez said Lewis grabbed her back and screamed. Perez said he left the gun in the van and fled.”
Perez has previously been convicted in unrelated cases of possession of methamphetamine, battery, domestic battery and fraud, according to court papers.