Two sentenced to life in prison for 2018 fatal shooting during Knoxville drug robbery

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Two men have been sentenced to life in prison for a fatal shooting during a 2018 drug robbery in Knoxville.

Elijah L. Bowman, III, 20, and Amir Hassan Spears, 20, were convicted of First Degree Murder, Especially Aggravated Robbery, and Aggravated Assault in the death of 29-year-old Denise Stevens. Two others were shot in the attempted drug robbery.

In January 2018, Bowman and Spears used Snapchat to set up a drug deal intending to rob the victim of half a pound of marijuana. Bowman was in the residence conducting the drug transaction when Spears approached the front door with an AR-15 assault rifle.

Spears was met by one of the surviving victims at the front door, and Spears fired his rifle, causing Bowman to pull his 9mm handgun and shoot another surviving victim. Stevens ran for cover in her room, shut the bedroom door, and was shot through the door, killing her.

Bowman and Spears collected eight ounces of marijuana, $25,000 cash, and a different AR-15 before fleeing the residence.

Bowman and Spears were sentenced to a maximum of 76 years in prison. The two must serve at least 51 years for the first-degree murder counts before they can meet with the parole board.

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