On Wednesday, March 26, 2020, Crittenden County Arkansas Sheriff’s deputies responded to an alarm at a home located in Horseshoe Lake, Arkansas.
Upon arrival, deputies found the back door of the home open. Deputies began to investigate, at which time they observed a male jump out of a second story window of the home, and then flee on foot towards a vehicle parked on the property. The suspect then got into the vehicle, and attempted to flee the scene by driving through the yard of the residence.
The vehicle became stuck in the yard, resulting in the suspect again running on foot. The suspect then ran into a nearby lake on the property to evade deputies. None of the responding deputies saw the suspect surface after they saw him jump in, and go underwater.
Deputies believed the suspect drowned, so they called for a dive team with sonar equipment to check for the submerged body.
Meanwhile, deputies searched the house and found the body of 63-year-old Martha McKay inside.
Later, a search and recovery team located, and recovered the suspect’s body.
Whether it was a murder that occurred during a simple burglary attempt, or a burglary with intent to commit the murder- it was known unknown.
When deputies learned the identity of the suspect, they also learned that he, 39-year-old Travis Lewis, was on parole since 2018 for the September 1996 murder of this victim’s mother.
It turns out that Lewis shot and killed McKays mother, Sally Snowden McKay, 75, and her nephew, Lee Baker, 52, twenty three years ago, on the same property, but at a different home on the estate. The two victims had caught Lewis burglarizing the home; he killed them as a result.
Lewis, was 16 at the time of the double murder, and he was to be tried as an adult, but instead pled guilty to 28.5 years in prison. He was paroled in 2018 after serving 23 years of that sentence.
Why Lewis came back and killed again my never be known, at least it wasn’t publicly known at the time I write this.
Recidivism in violent offenders
According to the United States Sentencing Commission, they find that violent federal offenders recidivated at a higher rate than non-violent offenders in every age group at the time of release from prison. Violent offenders who were the youngest at release maintain the highest recidivism rates. Violent offenders under age 26 recidivated at a rate (77.2%) similar to the rate for violent offenders age 26 to 30 at the time of release (76.0%). Lewis was 36 or so when he was released. Further, they found violent offenders recidivated more quickly than non-violent offenders. Of those violent offenders who recidivated, the median time from release to the first recidivism event (arrest) was 18 months.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics also show high rates of recidivism among released prisoners. They find of the 401,288 state prisoners released in 2005, they racked up a healthy 1,994,000 arrests during the 9-year period after their release; an average of about 5 arrests each.