For Immediate Release
Normal, Illinois, Woman and Indianapolis Woman Charged With Illegally Purchasing Firearm Used to Shoot and Kill Champaign Police Officer
URBANA, Ill. – A federal grand jury returned an indictment on October 4, 2022, charging Ashantae S. Corruthers, 28, of the 5000 block of Port Hope Drive in Indianapolis, Indiana, and Regina Lewis, 27, of the 1200 block of Major Street in Normal, Illinois, with conspiracy to illegally purchase and transfer a firearm and conspiracy to engage in misleading conduct. The indictment and a related complaint were unsealed on October 14, 2022.
The indictment alleges that Corruthers and Lewis conspired with Darion M. Lafayette, now deceased, to purchase and transfer a firearm to Lafayette, who could not legally purchase a firearm himself because he was a convicted felon (commonly known as a “straw purchase”). On November 17, 2020, at the direction of Lafayette and Lewis, Corruthers purchased a Glock 48, nine-millimeter, semi-automatic pistol and Sellier & Bellot, nine-millimeter ammunition, from a federal firearms licensee (FFL) in Indianapolis. According to the indictment, Corruthers falsely certified on an ATF form that she was the actual buyer of the firearm, when in fact, she purchased the firearm for Lafayette and transferred it to him.
The indictment further alleges that Corruthers and Lewis conspired with Lafayette to cover up the discovery of their illegal purchase and transfer of the firearm by having Corruthers falsely report to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department on April 26, 2021, that the Glock pistol was stolen from her around March of 2021. Approximately twenty-three days after Corruthers falsely reported the firearm stolen, Lafayette used the firearm to shoot and kill Champaign Police Officer Christopher Oberheim in Champaign, Illinois. According to the indictment, Corruthers and Lewis continued the cover-up after Officer Oberheim’s death by agreeing to have Corruthers falsely tell an ATF Special Agent investigating the officer-involved shooting that she purchased the gun for herself, that it was stolen from her in March of 2021, and that she did not know Lafayette.
Corruthers and Lewis were arrested on the charges on October 13, 2022. Each appeared by video before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan E. Hawley in Peoria on October 14, 2022. At the hearing, both defendants asked that their detention hearings be continued; Magistrate Judge Hawley set a detention hearing for Corruthers on October 19, 2022, at 9:30 a.m. and a hearing for Lewis on that same date at 10:15 a.m. Both hearings will be by video in front of Magistrate Judge Hawley in Peoria. Magistrate Judge Hawley ordered both defendants temporarily detained pending those hearings.
If convicted, conspiracy to illegally purchase and transfer a firearm carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and conspiracy to engage in misleading conduct carries a penalty of up to twenty years in prison. Each charge carries a penalty of up to three years of supervised release, and up to a $250,000 fine.
The charges are the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugene L. Miller is representing the government in the prosecution.
Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.