Seventh man pleads guilty to murder of Weld County woman who ‘disrespected’ his gang
GREELEY, Colo. — The last of seven co-defendants in the 2015 Pierce biker gang murder of Tera Lewandowski pleaded guilty Monday.
Thomas Vassil, 55, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Vassil, his son Michael and former Pierce Town Board member D.J. Meyer were considered leaders of the self-described “21 gang,” and ordered the murder of Lewandowski for “disrespecting the gang.”
“Lewandowski was murdered for no apparent reason. Her body was hidden in the snowy hills of Wyoming for several months and left in an open, cold grave. We believe justice would be served by this sentence,” Weld County Assistant District Attorney Robb Miller said.
Lewandowski was reported missing in September 2015 after she failed to show up for a doctor’s appointment.
Her body was found nearly 100 miles away in Wyoming in April 2016.
According to court testimony, Lewandowski was living in Meyer’s home for about a week when she got into an argument with Michael Vassil’s girlfriend Karly Hanchett over stolen prescription drugs.
The argument set into motion an elaborate plan to kill Lewandowski. According to several members of the group, Thomas Vassil ordered the murder.
In the middle of the night on Sept. 29, 2015, the group stabbed the victim multiple times, wrapped her body in carpet and dumped her body in Wyoming, according to prosecutors.
They then burned all her belongings. It took authorities nearly six months to find her body.
After nearly 2 1/2 years of court hearings, the case ended with the final guilty plea from Vassil. Meyer was found guilty in May and is serving a life sentence.
The other co-defendants, including Michael Vassil, Karly Hanchett, Scott Hanchett, Chad Iler and Crystal Griffin, are serving more than 160 years collectively.