DeKalb County

Prosecutors testing DeKalb mother’s hands to see if she fired shot that killed 4-year-old daughter

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — New details are emerging on why a DeKalb County mother is being charged with murder in what was believed to be the accidental shooting of her daughter.

Kaelin Lewis, 26, is facing murder and child cruelty charges after her daughter, 4-year-old Kendall, was shot inside a car driving down Interstate 85 near North Druid Hills Rd. earlier this month.

Channel 2′s Tom Jones has been following this case since we first brought you details of the August 7 shooting on WSB Tonight.

Lewis told police that Kendall found a gun under her car seat and shot herself.

During a Wednesday morning bond hearing, where Assistant District Attorney Tabitha Pazmino laid out why officers believed Lewis may have played a role in her child’s death.

“She heard a pop,” Pazmino told the judge.

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Pazmino said Lewis’ actions after hearing the pop were very concerning.

“She acted in a way that would not be, that could seem not to be consistent with an accidental shooting,” she explained.

Prosecutors said that before calling 911, Lewis first pulled over and called her mechanic, thinking the pop was her car malfunctioning. She then called out her daughter’s name and, when she didn’t answer, looked in the backseat and noticed her bleeding with a gun nearby.

Pazmino then says 911 asked Lewis to try and give life-saving efforts to her daughter.

“She was apparently instructed to give CPR to her daughter but she did not,” Pazmino said.

Prosecutors say Lewis told police her boyfriend left the gun in the car, but Pazmino said Lewis knew it was there and didn’t secure it.

They say because of that, they are looking into whether Lewis was the one who fired the gun.

“The defendant was tested for gunshot residue on her hands,” Pazmino told the judge.

Prosecutors say they are still waiting on the results of those tests.


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Lewis’s attorney, Jackie Patterson, said his client didn’t do CPR because she knew her child wasn’t alive. Patterson said Lewis would never shoot her child.

“It is clear, your honor, that the facts is gonna show that this is a tragic accident,” he said.

Patterson pointed out his client has no criminal record and poses no threat to the community.

Lewis’s uncle said his niece is not a criminal.

“She was a loving mom and this is just a terrible and unfortunate situation, your honor,” he said.

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Prosecutors say Lewis’s family had talked to police about getting guardianship of the child since Lewis and her boyfriend got into violent arguments in front of the child.

Patterson said he never heard the family say anything about getting guardianship of the child.