Death penalty trial begins for suspect accused of killing five at Fero’s Bar and Grill

Denver police crime lab outside Fero's Bar & Grill, Alameda Ave. and Colorado Blvd. Oct. 17, 2012

Denver police crime lab outside Fero’s Bar & Grill at Alameda Avenue and Colorado Boulevard on Oct. 17, 2012.

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DENVER -- Opening statements took place Monday in a death penalty case for the killings of five people at Fero's Bar and Grill. It's the first death penalty case in Denver in more than a decade.

Dexter Lewis is charged with murder for the stabbing deaths in October 2012. He's also accused of setting the bar on fire to try to cover up the crime.

Two brothers are also charged in the case as accomplices. They pleaded guilty, leaving only Lewis facing trial and the death penalty if convicted. He's accused of leading the bloody attack in the bar.

Joseph Hill was sentenced to five life sentences for his role. Lynell Hill received at 70-year prison sentence.

By the time firefighters arrived at the establishment at East Alameda Avenue and South Colorado Boulevard, much of the evidence had perished along with the five victims.

Prosecutors said firefighters made the discovery of the four patrons and the owner inside the bar.

Eyewitness Demarea Harris is the key prosecution witness and in opening statements Monday, both sides sparred over his motives for coming forward. Harris was a paid government informant.

He told police he was with the defendant and the others that night and watched as the planned robbery unraveled into multiple deaths.Prosecutors said the five people in the bar lost their lives over just $170.

The trial is expected to last four weeks.

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