Superior Court Judge Denies Motion of Hit Man Hiring Husband to Reduce his Sentence

In a 6 page decision, Superior Court Associate Justice Melanie Wilk Thunberg refused to reduce the 30-year prison term of Thomas J. Lewis, a West Warwick man who hired a hit man from Arizona, Thomas M. Kenna, to kill his wife, Kris Sao Bento, in 2004.  San Bento survived Kenna’s attack with a claw hammer.

In denying Lewis’ motion to reduce his sentence of sixty (60) years, thirty (30) years to serve with the balance of thirty (30) years suspended, on a charge of assault with a dangerous weapon in a dwelling house with the intent to commit murder, Judge Thunberg wrote the following:

After thoroughly reviewing the submitted records and information, this Court cannot identify any “new” information which would raise a concern of infirmity regarding what Dr. Bursztajn terms the Defendant’s “judgment and decision-making capacities.”  (Dr. Bursztajn’s “Analysis of Merit” § III.C ¶¶ 1-2.)

Moreover, this Court was aware of the Defendant’s voluntary non-compliance with his medication protocol.  Prior to imposing sentence, the Court stated as follows: “It was [the Court’s] interpretation and understanding from the records that were furnished to [the Court] that Mr. Lewis had an awareness that he had a problem with depression, was treated at Butler for depression, knew that he needed medications, and despite that awareness did not take his medication.”  (Tr. 24) (which also references the Defendant’s bipolar disorder).

Furthermore, this Court has on numerous occasions interacted with Mr. Lewis during his court appearances.  He has been consistently appropriate, alert, and communicative.  The Court has further observed nothing in his deportment, affect, or speech which in any way suggests that his entry into a plea was not a clear-headed and voluntary choice.  The Court repeats that the Defendant’s criminal activity was the “product of a nefarious and detailed plot” planned with and executed by his co-conspirator.

The evidence unequivocally establishes that the crimes were not committed by an individual whose mental state was impaired or whose capacity was diminished so as to affect culpability.

The Providence Journal has more here.

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