CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Attorney Hiram Lewis is celebrating his recent acquittal by a Clay County jury, but he worries his arrest last year for shooting a man at his house may have left his career in tatters.
Lewis, 41, who lives in Procious, has been a candidate for the state Senate and for attorney general. But he believes his political aspirations are over.
"People call me the crazy lawyer who shot somebody," Lewis said. "My name has been destroyed. It's very hard when someone Googles you and your picture shows up in an orange jumpsuit."
Lewis was arrested in June 2012 after Stephen Bogart was shot in the leg at Lewis' Elk River Road home. Lewis claimed it was self-defense, but a grand jury indicted him on charges of malicious wounding, domestic battery and wanton endangerment.
He said Bogart, an acquaintance, was inebriated and tried to break into his house and threatened him.
He spent ten days in jail and four months on home confinement awaiting his trial. Last week a jury decided Lewis was in the right, and found him not guilty.
But the publicity surrounding the incident has had a devastating influence on his law practice, his activity as an evangelist and his political dreams-the orange jumpsuit provides ample room for future opponents to attack him, he said.
"You know, I don't think I should have ever been arrested," Lewis said. "There was no evidence that I didn't act in self defense. I don't know the motive of the individuals involved.
"And of course, the jury saw that," he said.
He said he disagreed when the jury was not allowed to hear about Bogart's criminal history that included 14 convictions.
"They didn't know he'd been going around stealing, drinking and beating up people," Lewis said. "He beat up a woman in Charleston three months before this.