Family of Niagara Falls murder victim speaks out

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB)- Cory Hewitt finds some solace in knowing 18-year-old Stephanie Raymond and 22-year-old Shequan Herbert remain locked up Thursday night.

“It’s good to know they’re not running around still,” he says.

The couple is charged with Second Degree Murder and First Degree Robbery after investigators say Herbert and an another suspect beat 59-year-old Jose Hewitt, Cory’s, uncle, with a handgun in an attempt to rob someone else. 18-year-old Devante Beasley of Niagara Falls is also charged with Second Degree Murder and First Degree Robbery.

Raymond was driving the getaway car according to detectives.

Both Herbert and Raymond pleaded not guilty to their charges in Niagara Falls City Court Thursday morning.

Autopsy results show Hewitt died of a heart attack.

According to the Chief of Detective in Niagara Falls, it was “undoubtedly brought on by the stress and severity of the attack” by Herbert and the other suspect.

There were no knife or gunshot wounds on Hewitt, though he did have lacerations on his scalp due to blunt force trauma.

According to police, Herbert and the unnamed suspect showed up to Hewitt’s building on Pine Avenue in Niagara Falls around 7 p.m. Wednesday.

They were banging on the building’s door trying to get in when Hewitt, unaware of the their plans, began telling them to go around and use the door in the back of the building.

Officers say that’s when they attacked Hewitt.

The pair then left him there before going on and robbing a man at gunpoint, taking around $4,000 before fleeing the scene.

Herbert and Raymond were arrested shortly after. Neither one of them has a prior criminal record.

Niagara Falls Police are still searching for the third unnamed suspect involved in assaulting Hewitt.

Hewitt died before he was able to get to a hospital.

Thursday afternoon, family and friends gathered at Hewitt’s apartment for a vigil. Hewitt, who got around using a cane according to family, had lived at the apartment above Crispy Cuts barber shop for at least ten years.

“Jose was a wonderful guy, and we going to miss him very very much,” says a close family friend.

Native American music played, and loved ones lit candles and burned sage to honor Hewitt, who was a member of the Tuscarora Nation.

“Losing him is a big loss to us,” says his niece Vallissa Lawson.

But the family still wants answers.

Defense attorney for Shequan Herbert says Herbert and Raymond are a couple.

“It’s a murder. It really doesn’t get anymore serious than these charges,” he told News 4 after court Thursday morning.

“It’s not easy. It’s difficult. I don’t know a lot of the facts,” he told us shortly after he received the official documents for case.

Cory Hewitt says his family is big and tight knit. His uncle was always at their get-togethers.

“We were just talking about Easter coming up. And you know, someone innocent got taken out of the gathering there.”

Hewitt leaves behind two adult sons and a large extended family.

As of Thursday, Raymond and Herbert remain in custody on $100,000 cash bail.

News 4 will continue to follow this developing story.

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