A Virginia man accused of killing his wife called her pastor sometime after she was last seen alive and said, “I just hope she rots in hell,” the pastor testified in court Tuesday.
Adrian Lewis is on trial in Newport News, Virginia for first-degree murder and using a firearm in commission of a felony in connection to the 2022 disappearance of his wife, Shanitia Eure-Lewis. Her body has yet to be found.
Scripps News Norfolk reported this is just one of a handful of cases in Virginia state history where someone is being charged with murder despite the victim's body never being recovered.
Jurors heard from several witnesses on Tuesday who testified the couple was having marital problems, and Adrian believed she was cheating on him. Witnesses also testified Adrian had said he would kill her if that was the case.
Dwight Riddick, the pastor at Shanitia’s church, said he met with the couple to talk about their issues on July 8 and July 14 in 2022. Sometime after Shanitia was last seen on July 17, 2022, Adrian called the pastor, pictured below, and said, “I just hope she rots in hell.”
Adrian and Shanitia’s church friend, Mitchell Foreman, said a couple of weeks before she went missing, Adrian told him she must be cheating and said, “I can’t let her walk away from this.”
Mitchell Foreman’s wife and Shanitia’s friend for over 30 years, Tiffany Foreman, testified Shanitia had told her she wanted a divorce five days before she was never seen again.
Tiffany, through tears, told jurors on the day Shanitia disappeared she had said to Tiffany “I’ll be right back” while leaving church after their morning service.
But Tiffany said she never heard from her again.
Jurors were also shown a video in court of Shanitia speaking to her church during their morning service on the day she disappeared.
Virginia State Police sent out an Ashanti Alert after Shanitia was reported missing on July 18, 2022.
According to court documents, Adrian called Shanitia’s sister on the morning of her disappearance and claimed she was having an affair. He asked her sister to continue taking care of Shanitia’s children.
Her sister had been looking after the kids since July 14, 2022, when Shanitia took them to her sister for safekeeping after Adrian allegedly made suicidal statements.
Adrian called Shanitia’s sister again around noon on July 17, 2022 stating they had an argument and Shanitia jumped out of his truck near a gas station. But Newport News Police said cameras in the area did not corroborate his story.
Shanitia’s sister tried to call Shanitia after getting off the phone with Adrian, but she said she only received texts from Shanitia.
Later that afternoon, Shanitia’s sister was on her way to her house when she saw Adrian’s truck parked next to a dumpster. Court documents said she went to investigate and saw Adrian putting several things into the dumpster, including a shovel with dirt on it, a brown purse, sandals, a blanket with a suspected handprint and several documents.
Blood was later found in the passenger seat of Adrian’s truck, with a significant amount of blood found on the lower seat mount, according to court documents.
Adrian told police the blood was from one of his dogs who was shot by a neighbor, but detectives later confirmed during a search of his residence that both of his dogs were healthy and had no gunshot wounds.
The day after Shanitia went missing, Adrian bought a plane ticket to Jamaica. He was detained at the Washington Dulles International Airport.
According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Adrian was escorted from the airport around 4:15 a.m. after officers found him at the departure gate for a flight to Montego Bay. His wife's passport and credit cards were found in his baggage.
Adrian was charged in connection to her disappearance a few days later. Testimonies for the trial resumed on Wednesday.
This story was originally published by Ellen Ice at Scripps News Norfolk.