Ray Lewis Discusses His Infamous Murder Trial In New Autobiography
BY: John “Hennry” Harris
Yesterday (October 20, 2015) former NFL linebacker and future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis released his book I Feel Like Going On: Life, Game and Glory, written with Daniel Paisner and published by Simon & Schuster.
Ray Lewis is known as one of the most intense, hard-hitting linebackers in NFL history, but his life was almost derailed after a night of partying that resulted in the deaths of two people.
In the book, Lewis writes about being charged in the stabbing murders of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar following a Super Bowl party on January 31, 2000, in Atlanta, GA. Reginald Oakley and Joseph Sweeting were indicted and charged with murder and aggravated assault in the murders.
Lewis notes in his book that he and his entourage left the party and were headed for a limousine when they were approached by two men who began “making noise, making trouble.” Lewis, who was wearing an all-white suit (which was infamously never found) says that he was not ready or looking for a fight, per the Sporting News.
“Remember, I was dressed out, had my jewelry on, my fine mink coat. I wasn’t about to start mixing it up looking like that. That’s the general rule of thumb when you’re doing the town and looking good. The nicer you’re dressed, the less inclined you are to get in a fight — that is, if you’re even inclined in that way to begin with.”
Lewis recounts that before the limo could drive away, Oakley was hit in the head with a champagne bottle.
“But I didn’t engage with these dudes,” Lewis wrote. “No, sir. I tried to disengage, pushing the girls back in the car, and we all piled inside.”
Shots had been fired at the limo and blew out a tire. After having the limo towed, Lewis returned to the hotel and when he turned on the television, he first learned that two men had been stabbed to death and authorities were looking for his limo.
“There I was, all dressed out in my mink coat, my fine suit. Dude dresses like that, he’s not looking for a fight. How I was dressed, it made no sense with what went down, those shots being fired, all of that,” Lewis wrote. “Forget what kind of statement my clothes might have made. Forget that I might have been a little loud, over the top. Point is, when you’re dressed like that, you’re off to the sidelines, and here were these gangbangers stepping out to us from the shadows, looking to make trouble — but it was trouble we drove right past.”
“The charges made no sense. Told myself, that district attorney, he would suffer for this. Told myself, Ray, you got praying folks in your corner. That was my mindset at the time. I came at this thing from a place of rage, a place of revenge. But in the end, I would be the one to suffer. Those poor boys, they paid the ultimate price, how many things went down for them that night. But me, I was made to pay for their deaths. In the court of public opinion, I was made to pay. In the detention facilities of the city of Atlanta, Georgia, I was made to pay. I was crucified, man.”
Ray Lewis spent several weeks in jail as his name dominated sports and national news cycles. He described his time in jail as “demonic” and “pure evil”. Ultimately, he reached a plea deal agreement and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of obstruction of justice, because he had to, and settled with victims’ families in a civil suit.
“I could not bring those two young men back,” Lewis wrote. “I had no hand in their deaths, I could not ease the suffering of those families. But I had so many blessings in my life, I told myself I could use some of those blessings for those good people. They were hurting. I was hurting. … I knew that money would never bring back what the families wanted most. But they asked for it so I gave.”
I still wonder what happened to that all-white suit ??
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