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Judge orders mental health evaluation for teen charged as adult in real estate broker’s murder

Judge orders mental health evaluation for teen charged with murder as adult
Judge orders mental health evaluation for teen charged with murder as adult

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A Broward County judge ordered a mental health evaluation on Thursday for the 15-year-old boy who is accused of kidnapping and killing a real estate broker during a $1,000 armed robbery on Feb. 1 in Fort Lauderdale.

Henry Lee Lewis turned 15 on Dec. 19. His public defender implied that if the Florida Department of Children and Families and the Broward County Public Schools system for troubled students would have done their job a tragedy could have been averted.

Before Lewis was accused of killing Stefano Barbosa, 37, another Broward County judge had adjudicated him incompetent and ordered him to go to a youth camp to get mental health treatment — but no one followed through to make sure he did, Lewis’ public defender said.

The Florida Department of Children and Families didn’t make sure Lewis got to the youth camp and Broward County Public Schools failed to address his absenteeism at Cross Creek School in Pompano Beach, the public defender said.

“This young person’s issues are so significant that they require treatment, help, and services beyond what the juvenile justice system can provide at this time,” Broward State Attorney Harold F. Pryor said in a statement on Tuesday after announcing Lewis was being charged as an adult.

Lewis is facing charges of second-degree murder and armed robbery in the adult system. He has been so troubled that he was first charged with an armed robbery when he was 12 years old.

If his case were to be handled as a juvenile matter, he would have to be released from the juvenile justice system at age 18, Pryor said. The maximum term of residential treatment available in the juvenile justice system is 36 months prior to release.

“Any juvenile charge would mean that the person would be released after three years in the system and could only be kept under supervision in the community until age 21,” Pryor said.

According to Fort Lauderdale Detective Orlando Almanzar, surveillance video shows when Lewis kidnapped Barbosa about 4:20 p.m. on Feb. 1 outside of a home along Northwest 15th Terrace, between Northwest Seventh Street and Sistrunk Boulevard, records show.

According to his obituary, Barbosa was born in Campinas, Brazil, graduated from Miami Palmetto Senior High School in 2001, and earned two bachelor’s degrees from Pennsylvania State University. The real estate agent had just become a broker.

Barbosa was 6-foot 1-inch tall and had some jiu-jitsu training. Lewis is 5-foot 5 tall and 140 pounds. Lewis was holding a firearm, police said. Barbosa didn’t fight back when Lewis ordered him to get back in his BMW, police said.

Lewis ordered him to make two $500 withdrawals about 4:40 p.m. from a Bank of America ATM on Sistrunk Boulevard and Northwest Sixth Avenue, records show. According to Almanzar, Lewis was in the front passenger seat when he shot Barbosa.

Officers found Barbosa dead at 500 NW 19th Ave. The BMW ran over a chain-link fence and crashed into a palm tree in front of a home. Lewis ran out of the car, records show. Surveillance video shows him running on Northwest 18th Avenue, police said.

Detectives said confidential informants helped to identify the teenager, so officers arrested him on unrelated charges on Feb. 4 and seized his cell phone, records show. On Feb. 12, detectives visited Cross Creek School and met with witnesses who confirmed his identity.

According to Almanzar, the cell phone’s internal timeline confirmed Lewis was at the bank and at the crash site on Feb. 1. Records show it also revealed that on Feb. 2 the phone’s user searched for a Local10.com story: “Man shot multiple times crashes car into front yard of Fort Lauderdale home before dying.”

Local 10 News is naming the teenager because prosecutors are charging him as an adult.

About the Authors:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.