For Immediate Release
Normal, Illinois, Woman Sentenced to 8 ½ Years in Prison for Illegally Purchasing Firearm Used to Shoot and Kill Champaign, Illinois, Police Officer
URBANA, Ill. — A Normal woman, Regina Lewis, 28, was sentenced on Dec. 22, to eight-and-a-half years of imprisonment for engaging in a conspiracy to illegally purchase and transfer a firearm and a conspiracy to engage in misleading conduct.
Lewis had previously pleaded guilty and 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 (commonly known as a “straw purchase”). On Nov. 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. Approximately 23 days after Corruthers falsely reported the firearm stolen, Lafayette used the firearm to shoot Champaign Police Officers Christopher Oberheim and Jeffrey Creel in Champaign, killing Officer Oberheim. Lewis admitted that she and Corruthers 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.
At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Colin S. Bruce found that the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines recommended only 18 to 24 months of imprisonment. Nonetheless, the U.S. requested an upward variance from that range to a sentence of nine years of imprisonment due to the nature and circumstances of the offense. Officer Oberheim’s four daughters and Officer Creel addressed the Court in support of the government’s requested upward variance.
Lewis remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending transfer to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
Lewis faced statutory penalties of up to five years in prison for conspiracy to illegally purchase and transfer a firearm and up to 20 years in prison for conspiracy to engage in misleading conduct. Each charge also carried a penalty of up to three years of supervised release, and up to a $250,000 fine. The sentencing of Corruthers is scheduled on Feb. 12, 2024, in Urbana.
The case investigation was conducted by the ATF. Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugene L. Miller represented the government in the prosecution.