Federal authorities have subpoenaed James W. Lewis in an investigation of the 27-year-old case of the poisoning of Tylenol capsules that led to the deaths of four women, two men and a 12-year-old girl, died in 1982 in the Chicago area.
Lewis is now 63 and authorities are seeking fingerprint and DNA samples from him and his wife. Lewis served more than 12 years in prison for sending an extortion note to Johnson & Johnson demanding $1 million to “stop the killing.” He was never charged with murder and said that he never intended to collect the money.
In 1982, Lewis was an out-of-work accountant and said that he was merely trying to embarrass his wife’s former employer by having the money sent to the employer’s bank account.
Lewis has been in and out of prison on a remarkably wide range of alleged crimes.
He served two years of a 10-year sentence for tax fraud. In 1978, he was charged in Kansas City in a bizarre murder where a former client was dismembered. The charges in the murder of Raymond West, 72, were later dropped. Then in 2004, he was charged with rape, kidnapping and other offenses for an alleged attack on a woman in Cambridge. He was jailed for three years pending trial, but this case was also dropped when the victim refused to testify.
His last known job was as a web designed in a company called Cyberlewis, which included a link at one time that identified him as the “Tylenol Man.”