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Gloria Lewis

Other Virginia exonerations
On October 18, 2018, police arrested 64-year-old Gloria Lewis and her 35-year-old daughter, Catherine Lewis, on charges of obtaining prescription drugs through fraud after they allegedly attempted to pick up a prescription for another woman at a drug store in Appomattox, Virginia.

Catherine was also charged with petit larceny. She was accused of stealing prescription OxyContin from the home of 71-year-old Phyllis Minnick on September 25, 2018. Later that day, according to the charges, they attempted to pick up a prescription for Minnick at Appomattox Drug Store, but the request was denied.

They went to trial in Appomattox County Circuit Court in April 2019. Minnick testified that she usually filled her prescriptions at Kroger pharmacies, according to a report of the case published in the Times-Virginian newspaper. Minnick contended that she kept track of her medications and noticed that more than 100 pills were missing on September 25, 2019.

An employee of the Appomattox Drug Store pharmacy testified that the attempt to pick up a prescription for Minnick was denied because records showed that a similar prescription had been filled three days earlier at a Kroger pharmacy, the newspaper reported.

The defense attorneys claimed that Minnick had admitted she occasionally dropped pills on the floor and that she had asked the women to pick up the prescription for her at the Appomattox Drug Store that day.

Gloria and Catherine were convicted of all the charges on April 25, 2019.

The defense moved for a new trial and a hearing was held on September 19, 2019, the day the women were scheduled to be sentenced.

The defense claimed that they were not informed that Minnick had a prior conviction for shoplifting at a Kohl’s department store three years earlier and was banned from the store property, the newspaper reported. According to Appomattox County Commonwealth Attorney Les Fleet, Minnick’s conviction was not known at the time of trial, the newspaper reported.

The defense noted that Minnick had admitted writing things down, including her pill consumption and refills, because she had difficulty remembering things.

During the hearing on the motion for new trial, Dennis Englerth, attorney for Gloria Lewis, said Minnick’s credibility was called into question because she could not recall the conviction, the newspaper reported.

Craig Tiller, attorney for Catherine Lewis, “pointed out that pharmacies commonly fill prescription requests that are picked up by someone other than the patient, making the alleged request by Minnick not unreasonable to believe,” the newspaper said.

Circuit Court Judge Anderson Nelson granted the motion for new trial and vacated the verdicts.

On March 10, 2021, the prosecution dismissed the cases against both women, who had remained free on bond during the case.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 4/6/2021
Last Updated: 4/6/2021
Most Serious Crime:Fraud
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2018
Sentence:Not sentenced
Age at the date of reported crime:64
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No