NewsRegion S Palm Beach CountyDelray Beach


Lewis Bennett's family and friends write letters to judge asking for leniency in upcoming sentencing

Posted at 5:39 PM, Feb 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-07 00:37:32-05

Can letters from family and friends influence a judge? 

In exactly two weeks the husband of a the missing Delray Beach woman lost at sea will learn whether he will spend the majority of his daughter's childhood in jail.

Lewis Bennett will be sentenced for transporting stolen silver and gold coins. His parents, sister, and his long-time friends wrote letters to the judge. 

Every letter mentions his 17-month old daughter Emelia. 

They ask the Judge to think of the little girl growing up without her mother and father. 

The letters to Judge Lawrence King describe Bennett as a devoted father, a hard worker, a good friend and family man. 

This month, a federal judge will decide if he will sentence Bennett to a maximum of 10 years in prison or if he will be more lenient with the sentence.

"This incident isn't looked at in a vacuum. 

The court really tries to bring in all types of information in order to make an appropriate decision," said Michelle Suskauer, WPTV's Legal Expert. 

Suskauer believes the judge will consider Bennett's 17-month-old daughter is growing up without either parent. Emelia's mother, Isabella Hellmann, disappeared from her husband's boat last May while the couple was on a trip at sea. 

"The court certainly will take into consideration whether there are children, whether there are minor children, especially if an individual who is going to be sentenced may be the primary caregiver of that child," said Suskauer. 

Bennett admitted to possessing and transporting gold and silver coins that he reported stolen while he worked on a boat in St. Martin. 

His parents tell the Judge in their letter that they hope Bennett can return home soon to be reunited with his daughter. 

The judge won't be reading any letters from Hellmann's family. 

The documents submitted to the federal court only include letters from Bennett's parents, his sister, and long-time friends. 

Bennett is not charged with the disappearance of his wife. He will be sentenced for the coin-related charge on February 20 in Federal Court in Miami. 

Tokyo Olympics Medal Count as of late afternoon Aug. 4, 2021