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; Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet.

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