At his preliminary hearing June 19 in Clay Magistrate Court, Morgantown attorney Hiram C. Lewis IV took the stand and maintained he shot Stephen Bogart in self-defense following an altercation at Lewis’ camp in Procious on June 13. However, Clay Magistrate Jeffrey Boggs, seated behind Lewis, found enough probable cause to send Lewis’ case to the grand jury. (Photo by Lawrence Smith)
CLAY – A Morgantown attorney will now have to convince a jury that he acted in self-defense when he shot and wounded a homeless man at property he owns in Clay County.
Following a preliminary hearing on June 19, Clay Magistrate Jeffery Boggs found probable cause to bound Hiram C. Lewis IV’s case over the grand jury. On June 13, Lewis, 41, was charged with one count each of malicious wounding, and wanton endangerment after he shot Steven Bogart in the leg at Lewis’ camp in Procious.
During the hearing, Assistant Clay County Prosecutor Daniel Dotson III called only one witness, Trooper B.A. Young, the arresting officer. Despite his claims of self-defense, Young said he arrested Lewis based on, among other things, evidence at the scene that indicated otherwise, including items belonging to Bogart that suggested he was a resident.
However, under cross-examination from Lewis’ court-appointed attorney, Herb Hively, Young said there was evidence Bogart had been drinking vodka prior to the shooting, and the door where he entered the house to confront Lewis was kicked in from the outside.
Also, he said there was inconclusive evidence to show a boot print might be on the outside of the door. Nevertheless, Young refused to answer yes to Hively’s repeated questions if he thought the door appeared to be kicked in like that of an intruder.
Despite Hively’s objection, Lewis took the unusual step of testifying on his behalf. He continued to maintain his claim that he shot Bogart in self-defense and there is no reason why he should be under arrest.
“I don’t know why I’m here today,” Lewis said. “I don’t know why I’m in shackles.”
Lewis testified that he met Bogart earlier his month while walking along the road. Upon learning he was a homeless veteran, Lewis said he offered Bogart to stay at the camp provided he help do some work.
According to Lewis, Bogart stayed outside the residence on a screened-in porch. The shooting, he said, was a result of an altercation earlier that morning when Lewis told Bogart to turn down his stereo which was disturbing a neighbor.
Shortly before the shooting, Lewis said Bogart attempted to keep him confined in one of the bedrooms with an extension cord tied between the knobs of the bedroom door and the nearby bathroom. After Lewis was able to get out through a side entrance, he ordered Bogart out of house.
After watching him pace back and forth by the door, Lewis said Bogart began kicking the door and shouting that he was going to kill him. Fearful for his life, Lewis obtained a pistol, warned Bogart to stay out and shot him in the knee after he successfully kicked open the door.
After shooting him, Lewis claimed Bogart said he should have shot him between the eyes because he was now going to “‘hunt you down and kill you.’” Nevertheless, Lewis said he attempted to render aid to Bogart.
When one of the neighbors heard the shooting, she asked if it was necessary to call 911. After telling her yes, Lewis said he encouraged Bogart to keep pressure on the wound, and began taking pictures of the scene.
During the hearing, Lewis brought his iPhone that supposedly contained the pictures he took. Though Boggs entertained the idea of entering them into evidence, Lewis said he was only willing to share the pictures, and not surrender his entire iPhone.
Seemingly irritated, Boggs said, “I find probable cause and I’m going to send this to the Clay County grand jury.” Prior to sending the case to the grand jury, Boggs agreed to lower Lewis’ bond from $100,000 to $70,000.
As of presstime, he was still incarcerated at the Central Regional Jail in Sutton.
According to Dotson, the grand jury will meet again on July 10. Depending on records Young provides him by then, including Bogart’s toxicology report, Dotson said will determine if Lewis’ case is presented then or at a later meeting.
A Republican, Lewis was a candidate for state Attorney General in 2004 and 2008 and the U.S. Senate in 2006.
The state Supreme Court announced late Tuesday that it has scheduled a hearing for Aug. 7 in the case Office of Disciplinary Counsel vs. Lewis.
Clay Magistrate Court case numbers 12-F-46 and 12-F-47