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Man faces trial No. 2 in Valentine’s Day slaying

BRADENTON — For the second time this year, a Bradenton man accused of killing a retired Manatee County government worker during a botched Valentine’s Day burglary will go on trial for the crime.

Jury selection is set to begin today in the state’s case against Anthony Lewis, 20, charged with first-degree murder and armed burglary in connection to the Feb. 14, 2007, fatal shooting death of 67-year-old Daniel Ramsey — a former parks and recreation supervisor.

Lewis and 20-year-old Michael Walker, of Bradenton, were arrested after Manatee County Sheriff’s Office detectives said Ramsey came home to find the men burglarizing his house in the 2400 block of 33rd Avenue East. Detectives say Lewis shot Ramsey with a gun stolen from Ramsey’s house after Ramsey confronted them in his driveway.

In April, Walker was convicted of second-degree murder and armed burglary in connection with Ramsey’s death. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison.

During Lewis’ trial in August, a jury deadlocked 11-1 in favor of convicting Lewis, and a mistrial was declared.

Ramsey’s widow, Roberta, testified she and her husband of 35 years returned from a 2007 Valentine’s Day lunch to find Lewis and Walker burglarizing their home. She testified Walker stood in the driveway beside a Chevrolet Impala. Her husband pulled a sheathed knife from his truck and told Walker not to leave, she said.

When her husband threw the knife in its sheath at Walker, she said, Lewis came out of the house and shot him with a .38-caliber pistol that had been taken from her husband’s night stand.

Lewis testified that when the Ramseys unexpectedly returned home, Daniel Ramsey chased him with a knife into the Impala. Lewis said he shot Ramsey in self-defense from inside the car.

Assistant State Attorney Art Brown, during his closing argument, said Lewis fabricated that story after listening to other witness testimony throughout the week-long trial. Testimony from Ramsey’s widow, Brown argued, was far more credible.

On April 11, a 12-member jury found Walker guilty of second-degree murder and armed burglary. Walker did not fire the shot that killed Daniel Ramsey, but testimony from Ramsey’s widow placed him at the scene.

Lewis’ attorney, Marjorie Bender, said the trial is expected to last through the week.

The state will seek a life sentence if Lewis is convicted of first-degree murder.