JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A local man is back with his family after spending more than eight months in jail on charges he threatened his friends with a gun.
Robert Lewis was released on bond after a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office sergeant admitted to botching evidence in his case.
For Lewis, it was life's little things he missed the most. “To be able to feel the grass and the wind because I’ve been locked up for eight months, said Lewis.
His Valentine's Day was anything but a loving one. Lewis traded in his work polo for a green prison jumpsuit. Police arrested him for aggravated assault after a fight that involved guns and a metal pipe.
Public Defender Shannon Schott says her client is innocent, but police botched evidence that could prove it. Action News was first to report JSO destroyed the metal pipe Lewis was attacked with. JSO even admitted it in court.
“I don't know how they could have done that. It’s the only piece of evidence that was disposed of. I don't know who to blame."
The buck for the botched evidence stops with Sgt. J.K. Lentz.
Lentz signed off on destroying evidence in an active case. On the stand earlier this week, he even admitted to lying to Lewis' attorney during the investigation.
But the committed Catholic holds no grudge and says he has forgiven the man who possibly compromised his freedom. “At least he was good enough of a man to admit it.”
The Public Defender’s Office wants Judge James Daniel to dismiss the case due to the destroyed evidence. The judge is expected to make a decision the next time Lewis is in court on Nov. 15 for his final pretrial.