Accused strip-club shooter pleads not guilty; attorney claims self-defense

jmadden@herald-leader.comDecember 5, 2013 

Name: Joshua Lee Tevis AKA Joshua Lee Manuel; Age: 27; Sex: M; Race: Black; Height: 5'5; Weight: 170

An attorney representing a man charged with fatally shooting another man outside a Lexington strip club said his client acted in self-defense, and he raised questions about who fired the fatal shot.

Russ Baldani, attorney for Joshua Lee Tevis, said his client was not guilty of murder in Johntel Crocker's slaying, and he entered a not-guilty plea on Tevis' behalf Thursday at an arraignment in Fayette District Court. Baldani also asked the judge to reduce Tevis' bond.

"I don't know if my client fired the fatal shot, but my client was also under attack," Baldani said afterward.

Because of his self-defense claim, Baldani asked District Judge Kim Wilkie to reduce Tevis' bond from more than $1 million to $100,000. Wilkie set a full cash bond of $150,000. Tevis was being held in the Fayette County Detention Center.

Video surveillance showed that the shooting happened after Tevis, 27, and Crocker, 22, got into a fight Sept. 22 in the parking lot of Divas Gentlemen's Club on Russell Cave Road, according to court records.

Police were called at 2:41 a.m., and Crocker was taken to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, where he died.

In addition to murder, Tevis is charged with being a felon in possession of a handgun and being a persistent felony offender.

Crocker's shooting was one of two fatal shootings this year that occurred outside of Divas after arguments inside.

On Nov. 13, Curtis Simmons, 33, died from multiple gunshot wounds after getting into an argument with other patrons.

Earlier this week, police charged Tevin Wright, 22, in the shooting death of Simmons. He was arrested Nov. 29 in Indiana on a warrant filed Wednesday by Lexington police. Wright is charged with murder and tampering with evidence in Lexington, police said.

Wright is being held in the Delaware County jail in Indiana. He is to be extradited to Lexington to face charges.

Justin Madden: (859) 231-3197. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.

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