Watch CBS News

Long Beach jury finds man guilty of killing 21-year-old woman pregnant with their child

A Long Beach jury deliberated for about two hours Wednesday before finding a man guilty of killing a pregnant 21-year-old woman nearly nine years earlier.

Tremaine Lewis, now 32, believed he was the father of Alicia Faith Todd's baby when he fatally shot her during the early morning hours of June 24, 2015. The Signal Hill woman's body was later found in an alleyway between Orange and Lemon avenues, according to Long Beach police.

Lewis now faces a maximum possible sentence of 50 years to life in state prison, Deputy District Attorney Marlon Duke Powers said. He is scheduled to be sentenced before Superior Court Judge Richard M. Goul on June 7.

He has remained behind bars since his arrest on Feb. 18, 2016, a little more than six months after the killing.

Mack A. Jenkins, the victim's uncle, told City News Service the guilty verdict finally marked "justice" for his niece.

"He's a sociopathic predator," he said. "I tried to warn Alicia about men like him."    

The day before Todd was killed, she visited a Planned Parenthood clinic for testing to confirm she was pregnant. 

During closing arguments Tuesday, Deputy DA Powers told jurors "the defendant's entire world was changing in those 48 hours leading up to Alicia's death." Investigators did DNA testing on embyronic material recovered from Todd which showed that it matched Lewis' genetic profile, a match found in 1 in 18 million people, according to Powers. He told jurors that Lewis had a girlfriend at the time and the pregnancy with Todd complicated that relationship.

When her body was found, Todd was clutching a pair of keys, suggesting she was planning to return home. Her cell phone was never found, Powers told the jury.

A person who called 911 to report seeing her body in the alleyway told investigators they heard gunshots about an hour earlier, police said.

Lewis' defense attorney, Stephen R. Kahn, said Todd's death was "indeed a tragedy" but maintained his client was innocent, saying "not one piece of direct evidence puts the defendant there" in the alleyway when the victim was killed. Kahn also argued that Lewis' girlfriend was aware of his relationship with Todd when she became pregnant.

 "There's no pressure on him to eliminate her... to get her out of the way," Kahn said.

The defense attorney also said he expects Lewis to appeal the conviction.

"Why would he kill her because she was pregnant?" he asked jurors. "This case makes no sense. ... There is no reason to kill this young woman."

Meanwhile, the victim's family expressed relief her killer was finally convicted. Todd's oldest sister, Patricia Franklin, said hearing the verdict felt "rejuvenating," saying she has "been waiting for this so long." 

Lewis was also found guilty of the special allegation that he personally discharged a firearm during the commission of a crime.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.