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    Police believe suspect was under the influence of WET

    8:19 PM, Dec 19, 2011   |    comments
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    PINE BLUFF, Ark. (KTHV) -- The man police say is behind a terrifying crime spree in Pine Bluff over the weekend went to court Monday morning, charged with 22 felony charges.

    We're talking about 26-year-old Courtney Lewis, who is at the Jefferson County Detention Center with no bond. Pine Bluff Police say the charges range from one count of captial murder to seven counts of committing a terroristic act.

    Lewis, who police is say is previous convicted felon, went before a judge during a probable cause hearing. Lt. Bob Rawlinson tells us that eight of the 22 felony charges he's facing include "Class Y" felonies, which Rawlinson says can carry the death penalty.

    Lewis is accused of killing 51-year-old Kenneth Donnell Davis of Pine Bluff at the tail end of his crime spree Friday night. Police say Davis was in the E-Z Mart gas station along University Drive near Highway 65 when Lewis allegedly shot him and stole his car.

    They say Davis eventually wrecked that car and ran from police, ending up fighting some officers at the bottom of a nearby ravine. 

    "Even after being tasered, he did fall over but he was able to work through that," Lt. Rawlinson said. "He was holding officers heads under water until other officers could get there. There was no doubt that he would have severely injured or killed a police officer to get away," Lt. Rawlinson said.

    Lewis was eventually taken to Jefferson Regional Medical Center where police say he escaped briefly, hiding in a closet. But he was later treated and taken into custody.

    We should point out Lewis' murder was the last leg of this alleged crime spree. Police say he also attacked two other groups of victims earlier in the night. He's accused of shooting three people with non-life threatening injuries, and also attacking one group with kids.  

    In our Crime in Focus Monday night, we take a closer look at the drug Pine Bluff police believe led Lewis on this crime spree.

    Pine Bluff Police call it WET. It's a combination of cocaine and PCP. And when smoked together, police and doctors say it creates a behavior, spiraling out of control.

    Pine Bluff Police say the area, near University Avenue and Highway 65, turned into a violent crime spree Friday night. They say 26-year-old Courtney Lewis taken into custody for it all.

    "What we did recognize is that he had all the classic earmarks of someone who is on this, I mean he was oblivious to pain, extremely aggressive, appeared to be hallucinating," Lt. Rawlinson said.

    Lt. Rawlinson says they're still waiting on toxicology tests for Lewis but it appears he'd smoked WET.

    "In the last several years we've noticed a trend where this type of drug is being used more often," Lt. Rawlinson said.

    Rawlinson says they've found traces of WET in past violent crimes like homicides. And users are ending up in the hospital.

    "I would say once every couple of weeks would be a fair estimate," Dr. Giri Raval said.

    Dr. Giri Raval is with Jefferson Regional Medical Center in Pine Bluff. He says individually, cocaine and P-C-P trigger violent behaviors, so the combination with WET only makes it worse.

    "It's attacking your brain, your blood pressure, your vital organs, it can cause muscle break-downs, it can seizures in patients," Dr. Raval said.      

    Dr. Raval usually finds patients in their 20's and 30's, requiring immediate sedation to calm them down and sometimes restraint. And that can take time, with PCP staying in your body for up to 24 hours.  

    "So it's not very easy to calm them down, it takes time to ride it out," Dr. Raval said.

    Dr. Raval says the psychosis effect from this drug can actually take weeks or months to get back to a normal mindset.

    As for police, they don't know yet where or how WET is coming into Pine Bluff. But Lt. Rawlinson says they are working aggressively to find out.         

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