• Judge denies bond for Chesterfield woman accused of killing infant daughter

    By: Greg Suskin

    Updated:

    CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, S.C. - A woman accused of killing her 11-month-old daughter, then lying about it, asked a judge for bond Wednesday so she can get out of jail until her trial. That request was denied. The judge said there are too many unanswered questions and a child is dead.

    [ALSO READ: Mother, 2 others charged after toddler shot in Chesterfield County home]

    In May 2018, deputies said Breanna Lewis killed Harlee Lewis and made up a story, saying a man in an SUV kidnapped the baby.

    After an Amber Alert went out, deputies found the body of the child wrapped in a plastic bag inside a diaper box in the woods just a few hundred yards from her home on Daisy Lane. 


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    The judge told both sides Wednesday to get a game plan together and bring the case to court.

    He considered Lewis a flight risk and a danger to the community because of the seriousness of the charges against her.

    Lewis' attorneys first tried to get her released from jail in January, but the judge ordered a mental evaluation.

    Lewis has been in jail since May 2018.

    Her attorney said that wasn't right.

    "It's unjust, and I think harmful. She needs to be out. She needs to assist in her defense," he said.

    [ALSO READ: Second arrest made after video of NC baby smoking marijuana goes viral]

    Lewis is charged with homicide by child abuse, among other charges, including improperly disposing of her daughter's remains.

    Deputy Solicitor Kenard Redmond said in interviews with detectives that Lewis claimed she tried to perform CPR on Harlee.

    "She says she actually had the child in a playpen, and she came back into the room a short time later, and the child was not, Harlee was not breathing," Redmond said. "Then oddly, she says she blacked out during that time."

    The autopsy lists the little girl's cause of death as cerebral edema, or brain swelling and possible suffocation. 

    Lewis' attorney said in court they don't believe that's what happened.

    "As it relates to the cause of death, we dispute that, and I think there's gonna be significant evidence to show otherwise," he said.

    [ALSO READ: Sheriff says mother accidentally smothered baby during fatal meth overdose]

    Judge Paul Burch said because of the "bizarre nature" of the case, he would not consider bond for Lewis until she's had a mental health evaluation. Often, that request is made by the defense counsel, not the judge.

    That evaluation found that Lewis had no diagnosis of mental illness and is competent.

    Prosecutors did not go into any details about how the alleged crime was committed or any statements Lewis may have made during the lengthy investigation.

    Last June, another judge placed a gag order on everyone involved in the case, and that order still stands.

    The case is not expected to go to trial until later this year.


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