For Immediate Release
Normal, Illinois, Woman Pleads Guilty to Illegally Purchasing Firearm Used to Shoot and Kill Champaign Police Officer
PEORIA, Ill. – A Normal, Illinois, woman, Regina Lewis, 28, of the 1200 block of Major Street, pleaded guilty on May 16, 2023, to conspiracy to illegally purchase and transfer a firearm and conspiracy to engage in misleading conduct. Sentencing for Lewis has been scheduled on October 2, 2023, at the U.S. Courthouse in Urbana, Illinois.
In court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan E. Hawley, Lewis admitted that she conspired with co-defendant Ashantae Corruthers and 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. Such a transaction is commonly known as a “straw purchase.” During the hearing, the government stated that, 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. During the purchase, 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.
Lewis further admitted that she conspired with Corruthers and 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. The government stated that, 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. Lewis admitted that she and Corruthers continued the cover-up after 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.
Lewis remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending sentencing.
Lewis faces statutory penalties of up to five years in prison for conspiracy to illegally purchase and transfer a firearm and up to twenty years in prison for conspiracy to engage in misleading conduct. Each charge also carries a penalty of up to three years of supervised release and up to a $250,000 fine. The trial of Corruthers is scheduled to begin on June 27, 2023, in Urbana, Illinois.
The case investigation was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugene L. Miller is representing the government in the prosecution.