DENVER (WWJ/AP) - Two sons of a Detroit preacher appeared in a Denver courtroom Friday, accused of teaming up with an aspiring rapper and son of a slain gang member to kill five people at a local bar.
The three are also accused of setting the bar on fire in an attempt to cover up the slayings early Wednesday morning. Police have said the motive likely was robbery.
Lynell Jonathan Hill, 24, and Joseph Nathanael Hill, 27, were advised that they face charges of first-degree murder, felony murder, robbery and arson stemming from the slayings at Fero’s Bar and Grill. The would-be rapper, Dexter Lewis Jr., 22, was advised of the same charges on Thursday.
The suspects are accused of killing bar owner Young Suk Fero, 63, of Aurora; Daria M. Pohl, 21, Kellene Fallon, 44, and Tereasa Beesley, 45, of Denver; and Ross Richter, 29, who was from Overland Park, Kan., and recently worked in Colorado.
Robert Hill Jr., the brother of two of the suspects, told The Denver Post that he helped raise his brothers and a sister in the family’s Detroit home after their father died.
“My father was a preacher. We were raised in a Christian home. We value life. My brothers didn’t sell drugs on the street. My brothers are not killers,” said Robert Hill, 33. “We were raised by my mother. She taught us how to work, to be honest.”
He said Lynell Hill had been working as a talent agent. According to state records, Lynell Hill was charged with misdemeanor assault in Arapahoe County in 2010 and 2011.
It’s unclear how the Hill brothers met Lewis.
The Denver Post reports Lewis is an aspiring rapper and the son of a gang member who was gunned down 18 years ago.
The Rev. Leon Kelly, founder of a gang alternative center in Denver, said he tried to help Lewis’ father in the early 1990s before a 13-year-old gang member shot him in the back.
Kelly said he took Lewis under his wing after his father was killed.
“He was like a grandson to me,” he said. “He said he was going to make me proud.”
Lewis was released from parole in February after serving a three-year sentence for robbery and menacing. In 2008, he was in the Jefferson County jail after he was arrested on a misdemeanor sexual assault charge when he was accused of beating another inmate and stealing his food. Two months later, he was accused of injuring a correctional officer and fighting with two others.
Prison records show Lewis was disciplined eight times for offenses including fighting, getting a tattoo and inciting a disturbance. He was released on mandatory parole.
Defense attorneys have filed several motions asking Denver County Judge James Breese to let them examine the crime scene for evidence before the property is turned over to the owners and to let them see the arrest affidavit. Breese denied the motions but said he could change his mind.
The Hill brothers and Lewis are being held without bond.
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