Kevin Lewis is handcuffed after receiving a life sentence Tuesday for aggravated first-degree murder. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Kevin Lewis is handcuffed after receiving a life sentence Tuesday for aggravated first-degree murder. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Lynnwood man gets life sentence for botched murder-for-hire

Kevin Lewis paid his cousin $2,400 to kill his ex-wife. Instead, her sister, Alisha Canales-McGuire, 24, was killed.

EVERETT — Alisha Canales-McGuire had just gotten married in July 2017.

She wanted to have a child.

But while babysitting her sister’s three children, she was murdered in September of that year.

Kevin Lewis received the only possible sentence Tuesday after a jury convicted him of aggravated first-degree murder in the botched killing-for-hire.

Life in prison with no chance of parole.

The target of the murder was Canales-McGuire’s sister: Lewis’ ex-wife. Speaking at Tuesday’s sentencing, the ex-wife called Lewis “pure evil.” She remembered him playing with the children.

“I thought that you loved them, but someone who loved them would never want to subject them to danger and to trauma,” she said, looking up from her written remarks to make eye contact with the defendant in his jail uniform. He stared at her. “Did you care that if it was just me home that night, they would have woken up to find their own mother dead, lying in a pool of blood?”

Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Paul Thompson’s sentence marks the end of a lengthy saga to bring justice for the death of Canales-McGuire, 24. Jurors spent six weeks hearing testimony in the case last year. It took them less than 3½ hours to convict the Lynnwood man.

Lewis, now 34, hired his cousin, Jerradon Phelps, to get his ex-wife “out of the way,” according to court documents. He paid Phelps $2,400. Phelps testified in the trial that he used the money to buy a pair of Timberland boots, a Ferragamo belt buckle and tattoos.

Phelps, then 19, drove with his friend, Alexis Hale, from Spokane to Everett on Sept. 20, 2017. Hale, then 17, got a black pistol from her sister, according to Phelps’ testimony. He paid her $200.

Lewis directed them to his ex-wife’s home south of Everett. He never said who lived there, Phelps testified. The cousin said he didn’t know who he was supposed to kill, only the address he was expected to target.

So when Phelps and Hale got to the home in the 3100 block of York Road around 1:55 a.m., he opened fire on the wrong person. Canales-McGuire was staying at her sister’s home to care for her children. The sister was on a business trip in New York City.

Phelps shot Canales-McGuire five times.

Almost a year after the killing, the police investigation had gone cold. But in August 2018, Snohomish County sheriff’s detectives got a tip from someone in Spokane. Hale had told friends she was hired to kill someone on York Road.

Phelps and Hale were arrested. In July 2020, Phelps pleaded guilty to premeditated first-degree murder. He was sentenced to 31⅔ years.

Hale pleaded guilty to the same charge. She was sentenced to 15 years. Judge Thompson ordered Lewis on Tuesday to have no contact with Phelps or Hale. He advised Lewis and Phelps shouldn’t be housed in the same prison.

Lewis has a history of violence against the target of the murder-for-hire. When he was charged with the murder in 2019, he was spending time in jail for assaulting the ex-wife. She testified at Lewis’ trial that she began to fear for her life in 2017.

Lewis told her he wanted full custody of their children and child support. If he didn’t get that, he threatened to kill her, she testified.

At sentencing for the assaults, Superior Court Judge Bruce Weiss called Lewis’ actions “textbook domestic violence,” as the defendant constantly tried to assert power and intimidate the woman.

The ex-wife said she had to leave the York Road home after the murder. She and her kids moved into a shelter while they looked for safe housing.

The woman said they’re doing better now.

“They’re healing and they’re moving forward, despite all of the damage that you caused,” she said. “And in case you’re wondering, they don’t ask about you or talk about you at all.”

And she said she’s now in a loving relationship and has started businesses.

Lewis’ attorney said the defendant planned to appeal. Lewis declined to speak Tuesday.

Thompson ordered he have no contact with the ex-wife, some of her relatives and the children for the rest of his life.

Jake Goldstein-Street: 425-339-3439; jake.goldstein-street@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A big decision for Boeing’s next CEO: Is it time for a new plane?

As Boeing faces increased competition from Airbus, the company is expected to appoint a new CEO by the end of the year.

A Mukilteo Speedway sign hangs at an intersection along the road in Mukilteo. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Mukilteo Speedway name change is off to a bumpy start

The city’s initial crack at renaming the main drag got over 1,500 responses. Most want to keep the name.

Two workers walk past a train following a press event at the Lynnwood City Center Link Station on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Trains up and running on Lynnwood Link — but no passengers quite yet

Officials held an event at the Lynnwood station announcing the start of “pre-revenue” service. Passengers still have to wait till August.

Nedra Vranish, left, and Karen Thordarson, right browse colorful glass flowers at Fuse4U during Sorticulture on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
A promenade through Everett’s popular Sorticulture garden festival

Check out a gallery of the festival’s first day.

Left to right, Everett Pride board members Ashley Turner, Bryce Laake, and Kevin Daniels pose for a photo at South Fork Bakery in Everett, Washington on Sunday, May 26, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Second Everett Pride aims for even bigger rainbow of festivities

Organizers estimated about 3,000 people attended the first block party in Everett. This year, they’re aiming for 10,000.

Everett Herald staff gather and talk in the newsroom after layoff announcements on Wednesday, June 19, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘This breaks my heart’: Over half of Everett Herald news staff laid off

A dozen journalists were handed walking papers Wednesday, in a wave of layoffs mandated by new owners, Carpenter Media Group.

The I-5, Highway 529 and the BNSF railroad bridges cross over Union Slough as the main roadways for north and southbound traffic between Everett and Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Highway 529 squeeze starts now between Everett, Marysville

Following a full closure for a night, starting late Sunday, Highway 529 will slim down to two lanes for months near the Snohomish River Bridge.

A Mukilteo Speedway sign hangs at an intersection along the road on Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Mukilteo, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Long live the Speedway! Mukilteo’s main drag won’t be renamed

The public shot down the mayor’s idea to change the name: 77% voted ‘No’ in an online survey, with 95% opposed on Facebook.

Everett
Motorcyclist dies in crash on East Marine View Drive in Everett

Around 8 p.m. Tuesday, a motorcycle and a vehicle crashed into each other at the intersection of 11th street and East Marine View Drive.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Darrington in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Motorcyclist dies in crash on Highway 530

Jeremy Doyle, 46, was riding east near Darrington when he crashed into the side of a car that was turning left.

The Marysville School District office on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘Financially insolvent’ Marysville schools to get unprecedented oversight

Superintendent Chris Reykdal will convene a first-of-its-kind Financial Oversight Committee, he wrote in a letter Tuesday.

Woodside Elementary Principal Betty Cobbs on Monday, June 17, 2024 in Bothell, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett’s first Black principal retires after 51 years

In her office, Betty Cobbs kept a black-and-white photo of herself at age 5: “I am right there, with dreams of becoming an educator.”

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.