GLADES COUNTY—A Glades County man is facing up to life in prison after being found guilty of the 2010 murdering an Okeechobee bail bondsman.
A jury made up of five men and one woman Wednesday, Sept. 4, found Koty Cheyenne Lewis, 32, guilty of second-degree murder, aggravated assault with a firearm and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Detective Captain Daryl Lewis, of the Glades County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO), said the Lakeport man will be sentenced in about two weeks by Judge Jack Lundy.
“He’s facing 25 years to life in prison,” said Capt. Lewis, who is of no relation to the convicted man.
Koty Lewis was arrested Dec. 26, 2010, after gunning down Gordon Suleiman, the owner of All Over Bail Bonds in Okeechobee. Mr. Suleiman was helping a fellow Okeechobee bail bondsman Gregory James locate Koty Lewis.
Mr. Suleiman was shot one time in the left side of the chest with a .243 caliber rifle, and died at the scene.
An arrest report by GCSO Detective Sergeant Ronnie Baker indicated that Mr. Suleiman, his wife Cynthia, and Mr. James went to a mobile home on Red Barn Road to take Koty Lewis into custody. When they arrived they found the front gate to the property closed and locked.
The trio saw a Dodge pickup coming in their direction, but as it neared the gate the driver of the truck stopped and began to back up, stated the report. Thinking Koty Lewis was in the vehicle, the trio crossed the gate and followed the truck to a small trailer.
Sgt. Baker stated that Mr. James saw Koty Lewis come from behind the trailer and that he was armed with a rifle.
The man then pointed the gun at the three bondsmen and told them to get off the property.
Mr. James apparently told the detective that Koty Lewis knew him and knew that the three bondsmen were looking for him.
At some point Koty Lewis began to run and Mr. Suleiman and his wife gave chase. A few minutes later, Mr. James heard a gunshot and Mrs. Suleiman scream.
Mr. Suleiman, who was armed with a handgun, chased Koty Lewis into a cow pasture. Koty Lewis stopped running and turned to face the bondsman. He then raised his rifle and fired one shot.
“It was proven at trial that when the victim was shot his hands were raised. He was giving up, but (Koty) Lewis shot him anyway,” said Capt. Lewis in a phone interview Thursday.
Koty Lewis was later apprehended by Glades County Sheriff Stuart Whiddon and GCSO Deputy David Springman.
After shooting Mr. Suleiman, Koty Lewis fled on foot. He was found a short time later hiding under the porch of a building at Chappy’s Hunt Camp on S.R. 78, just east of Old Lakeport Road. Sheriff Whiddon coaxed the man from under the porch.
The bolt action rifle was found later near some cow pens—about 150 yards from where Mr. Suleiman was shot. It was still loaded with one round in the chamber and four rounds in the magazine, said Capt. Lewis in an earlier interview.
He went on to add that Koty Lewis had two more rounds in his pocket when he was taken into custody.
A glass smoking pipe was also found in his pocket. A residue in that pipe was field tested and indicated a positive result for the presence of methamphetamine.
The captain said Thursday he had a lot of praise for the way Sgt. Baker handled the investigation.
“He was the lead investigator, and the (victim’s) advocate for the victim’s family. They really appreciate what he did,” said Capt. Lewis. “I can’t say enough about Ronnie Baker.”
He also handed out kudos to Officer Chris Douglas and his K-9 from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) for their help in the initial stages of the investigation.
“Everyone from the sheriff on down did a good job and justice was served for the family,” added Capt. Lewis. “It was a big effort on everybody’s part.”
The case was prosecuted by Christopher Klink and Jonathan Martin, from the state attorney’s office of the 20th Judicial District.