DENVER -- Dexter Lewis, who was convicted of stabbing five people to death during a robbery at Fero's Bar and Grill that netted $170 then set the bar on fire to cover up the crime, received the maximum sentence by a Denver judge on Wednesday.
Lewis was sentenced to five life sentences in prison plus 180 consecutive years for the 2012 murders. Lewis did not speak before the sentence was handed down.
Lewis’ two accomplices entered guilty pleas for their roles in the crime in an agreement that required them to testify against Lewis. Joseph Hill, 29, received five life sentences while his brother, Lynell Hill, 27, received a 70-year prison sentence.
A fourth man who was a part of the robbery, Demarea Harris, was a confidential informant at the time for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He was not charged.
The robbery took place Oct. 13, 2012 when firefighters found the bodies of five people inside Fero’s on Colorado Boulevard after they responded to a call about a fire.
The victims -- owner Young Fero, 63, Daria Pohl, 22, Kellene Fallon, 45, Tereasa Beesley, 45, and Ross Richter, 29 -- had been stabbed to death.
Prosecutors said the three were short on cash and planned to rob the bar to pay debts. During the trial, prosecutors said they only got away with $170 before going to a gas station to get the fuel to set the bar on fire.
The jury found aggravating factors in the first phase of the sentencing trial, evidence as to why Lewis should be sentenced to death, but ultimately failed to find the aggravating factors outweighed mitigating factors.
Under Colorado law, because the jury failed to sentence him to the death penalty, Lewis received a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The death penalty case was the first in Denver since 2001. The last time a person was sentenced to the death penalty in Colorado was in 1986.