MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Will an important murder for hire trial be forced to start over? After six weeks defense lawyers for Martin and Clinton Lewis are talking for the first time, saying it's not a fair trial and they want a new one.
The Lewis cousins are accused hit men in the Craig Petties cross-country drug ring.
Judge Hardy Mays said that he will make a decision by the end of the day whether or not this trial will move forward.
Around 1:30 p.m. on March 13, four defense lawyers representing Martin and Clinton Lewis left the federal building after a long day filing paperwork.
Marty McAfee, an attorney for Martin Lewis, said, "We have filed several motions regarding a mistrial in this matter based upon decisions the government has made, both to put on purge of testimony and to hold back evidence that could have changed this case; if we had known about it timely we would have used it effectively."
Not only does the defense argue that government witness after government witness knowingly lied on the stand, they also say the government held back key information about the murder weapon used to kill Marcus Turner.
"The weapon is important because that is really the only physical piece of evidence tied to the Marcus Turner homicide," said Howard Manis, attorney for Clinton Lewis. "That set a chain of events bringing the gun back to evidence in this case."
According to the government, one potential witness originally said Clinton Lewis gave him the gun after Turner's murder. But in recent months the witness told the government the gun came from someone else; that information wasn't given to the defense team until weeks into the trial.
"It is not fair for them to give us one version of the evidence about this murder weapon, to let us build our case around what they say is the truth and then to tell us the rest of the truth, that deprives us the ability to build our case as we're supposed to do," said McAfee. "For us to go back and redo these witnesses - what is the jury going to think? We were asleep? We weren't asleep, they were depriving us of the truth."
Manis added, "Bottom line is let's have a fair trial and if we've reached a point where the law says we haven't, no matter how long it takes, let's make sure we do it right, and that's what we want - we want to do this right. We're not asking for dismissal, we're asking for mistrial."
Judge Mays asked the jury to come back Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. If the trial continues it should finish sometime next week.