Church Stabbing Suspect is Victim's Cousin

Stabbing in a Sumter church on Sunday was between family members.

Sumter, SC (WLTX) - Investigators revealed in court Monday that the victim and the suspect in a church stabbing in Sumter are cousins.

Billy Lewis, 65, appeared before a judge in the afternoon on charges that he stabbed his relative with a pocket-knife in the neck, head, and shoulder during a Sunday morning service at St. Paul A.M.E. Church Shaw.  

Previous Coverage: Suspect Accused of Stabbing Man 3 Times During Church Service

Sumter County deputies said in court that the suspect has mental issues, and believed he had been cursed by the victim. 

Lewis' sister, Edith Lewis, said her brother is schizophrenic and had stopped taking his medicine. "He didn't know what he was doing," she said. 

Samuel Howard is the suspect's son. He says his father was always loving and provided for their family. "I'm still in shock," he added. "He's a good father."

At St. Paul AME, Rev. Eric Dent says there were only 10 to 20 minutes into Sunday Bible study when the attack took place. "They were both loyal members of the church," Dent said. "This is a close-knit community. Most of the folks here are related."

The church will be offering counseling to members of the church on Sunday and possibly on Wednesday. Reverend Eric Dent says Sunday's service will include some deputies and mental health workers. 

For many, that's what he says hurts the most: both are life-long members of the church. It's where you'll find the Lewis family, who say they'll be worshipping the Lord for help to get them through this. "We just ask for prayers," Edith Lewis said. "You just feel sad and sorry this happened. It's like a dream, you just wish you could wake up from it. I just want it to be over with. 

The victim is still receiving treatment for his injuries. As for Billy Lewis, his next scheduled appearance is set for December 2.

 

 


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