WEST SENECA, N.Y. (WIVB) – The case against a Rochester man accused of fatally shooting a relative after a basketball game at a local sports complex last weekend took another step forward Friday morning.
Andre Lewis, 39, appeared in a West Seneca courtroom, where he waived his right to a felony hearing, clearing the way for his case to go before an Erie County Grand Jury to consider.
“At a felony hearing, the District Attorney just has to show probable cause that a felony was committed, and that the defendant is the person who committed the felony. Mr. Lewis had spoke to the police after the incident and had admitted that he had fired a shot at the victim, so all the DA would have to do is put the statement into evidence. Rather than go through the motions of having a hearing, we waived it,” Andre Lewis’ attorney, Andrew LoTempio, explained.
The shooting happened the night of Saturday, April 29, at the Niagara Frontier Sports Complex on Meyer Road after a tournament basketball game. Police say there was an altercation between family members that escalated and ended with Lewis shooting another Rochester man twice.
The victim, 54-year-old Robert Echols, was taken to ECMC, where he died. Lewis was arraigned at the hospital on a 2nd degree murder charge over the weekend.
“He admits that he fired a shot, but we’ll get into whether it was self defense or whether there was any intent to kill and that kind of stuff at another time,” LoTempio told News 4 after Friday morning’s court appearance.
LoTempio says there’s still a lot of fact-finding ahead to figure out what led to the shooting. He said he has heard the victim, who LoTempio says was married to Lewis’ mother at one point, punched Lewis in the face while he was holding a baby.
LoTempio says, as far as he has heard, there had never been a problem between the victim and the suspect before that.
Now, many of Lewis’ family members are standing by him as the case against him moves forward, with more than a dozen showing up for his court appearance Friday.
After waiving his felony hearing, Lewis was returned to the Erie County Holding Center where he remains without bail until his next appearance.
LoTempio says he’s planning to make a bail application on Wednesday, May 10.