Update on Lewis homicide: Shooter had strong ties to Graham


While very little information is known about Cori Lewis, the woman whose body was found last Monday buried in a shallow grave in Graham, more is known about her assailant, Kelly Merz and much of it is disturbing.

 According to many friends of Mr. Merz, he was a long-time member of the New Testament Christian Church, the religious congregation whose headquarters are located on the Orting-Kapowsin Highway in Graham.  Further, Merz had been a lay pastor at the NTCC, and had moved to Graham to attend the church’s Bible Seminary.

 By all accounts he was a quiet man, and unknown to have angry or violent outbursts.

 So, how could such a man shoot and kill Ms. Lewis?

 Adding to the mystery, Mr. Merz murdered Lewis in their apartment on 158th St in South Hill, and the apartment building is owned by Mr. Merz’ ex-wife, Cherlyn Merz.  In addition Ms. Merz also owns the three adjacent four-plex rental units, and according to tenants and neighbors who spoke with the Mountain News, these apartments are mostly occupied by members of the NTCC congregation.

This string of apartments on 158th St are favored by members of the NTCC.

 Cherlyn Merz had also been a member of the NTCC for many years.  However, both Cherlyn and Kelly Merz seem to have left this faith community several years ago, reportedly around the time of their divorce in 2004, with Mr. Merz leaving first.

 However, it appears that Cori Lewis was not a member of the NTCC, and was only renting a room in Mr. Merz’ apartment.

 Further, prior to the divorce, Kelly Merz was dismissed from his position as a lay pastor at the NTCC and his credentials were revoked, according to former members of the church.

 Seeking answers to how Kelly Merz abandoned his spiritual training and sought answers with a gun amidst the residences of a religious community, the Mountain News approached Cherlyn Merz but was angrily rebuffed.

 Nevertheless, NTCC co-pastor Phil Kinson told the Mountain News in a phone conversation that the incident, “was a shock – it came out of the blue.” 

 Pastor Kinson also confirmed that Kelly Merz had been absent from the church for several years.

 “I’ve had no communication with Kelly for a long time,” Kinson said.

 Kinson also said that he had no knowledge of how or why Mr. Merz had been removed from his pastoral duties.

 “I don’t know about the dismissal,” he said.  “It was before I came here (to Graham).

 When pressed to share more details on the relationship between the NTCC and the Merzes, or to offer an explanation on how Mr. Merz became a murderer, Pastor Kinson simply said, “I have no idea.”

 After a pause, Kinson added, “Have a nice day, sir,” and hung up.

 In addition, phone calls to the office of the NTCC and co-pastor Mike Kekel have not been returned.

 Looking more closely at the situation on 158th St, here is what the Mountain News has been able to learn:

 Cherlyn Merz owns the four, “four-plex” units on this block, and their combined assessed value is about $1.2 million.  In addition, she owns a rental duplex in Spanaway, another unit in Lakewood, and lives in a two-story home in an upscale neighborhood in Graham.

 Cherlyn Merz is certainly not a suspect in this homicide, but the circumstances of the divorce, coupled with Kelly’s dismissal from the ministry may have had an accumulative effect that pushed Mr. Merz over the edge.

 When married, Kelly and Cherlyn seemed to have shared equally in their financial good fortune, and former NTCC member and Merz tenant Nicole Brown says that Kelly owned a BMW sports car when she lived in their building, and Ms Merz is still driving hers.

 But that may have changed after the divorce, as Ms. Merz moved to her single-family house while her ex-husband stayed in the small two-bedroom apartment where they had lived for most of their married life.  It is not known if, or to what degree, Kelly Merz shared in the bounty of this multi-million dollar real estate empire in the divorce settlement, but many describe Cherlyn as the “go-getter” and Kelly as a “passive, nice guy.” 

The apartment on 158th St where Kelly Merz lived and killed Cori Lewis.

 Further, when they divorced Cherlyn’s career as a real estate agent blossomed and NTCC founder RW Davis is identified by the aforementioned Nicole Brown as saying during a bible study class that NTCC students who felt they could buy a house should do so through Mrs. Merz.

 In turn, it is widely reported by former NTCC members that Mrs. Merz paid 10% in tithes back to the church, which would presumably include her real estate commissions.

 In addition, the steady stream of biblical students into the seminary on the Graham campus was believed to be mutually beneficial to Cherlyn and the NTCC as she received a constant supply of trustworthy tenants and the church reportedly received their cash flow of tithes.

 However, in the wake of the divorce life seemed to take a downturn for Kelly Merz.  Long-time neighbors on 158th St, such as Tom Courts, describe Kelly nowadays as a kind of caretaker or employee for Cherlyn, performing duties such as mowing the lawns of the four-plexes and fixing the tenants’ broken appliances.

 Also, one neighbor said that Mr. Merz had been working recently as a delivery driver for Dominos Pizza.

 More unsettling, Kelly Merz is widely described as having cognitive or emotional impairments.

 “I wouldn’t call him retarded, but Kelly was slow in his own way.  He was ‘special,’” said Trivlyn Bristol, who is a tenant of Ms. Merz.

 “Kelly had mental problems and was disturbed in some way.  But he seemed harmless, too,” Mr. Courts said. 

 “He was mild-mannered, but not all there,” voiced another neighbor.  “You could tell something was not right with him.

 “Kelly stuttered and was child-like,” added Ms. Bristol, “and he could be compulsive.”

 These characterizations of Kelly Merz directly challenge the description Cherlyn Merz gave to the Pierce County Sheriff’s deputies last Monday.  She is quoted in court documents as telling investigators that her ex-husband “had no medical or mental health issues to her knowledge, and had no problems with drugs or alcohol.”

 When long-time friends and fellow members of the NTCC were asked about Mr. Merz’ psychological well-being in the past, most said he was quiet and often socially awkward but that he had no obvious psychological difficulties.  These individuals also stated that the Merz’ marriage appeared to be a happy one initially, and that they both were very active in the NTCC.  Ms Merz, in particular is described as being “very faithful” to the tenets of the church.

 However, some associates say that Kelly and Cherlyn were dramatic opposites emotionally.  While he was taciturn, Cherlyn was outgoing and dynamic, smart and aggressive.

 “She knew what she wanted and went after it,” said Diana Taylor, a long-time friend of the couple.

 Others, such as Angela Riggio Tumioli, an outspoken ex-member of NTCC, said that the interracial nature of the Merz relationship put added burdens onto the marriage, which were exacerbated by a veiled racism within the NTCC community.  She further claims that founder Davis preached against interracial marriages, saying they “hinder the work of the Lord.”

 Nevertheless, Kelly and Cherlyn Merz stayed married for twenty years, and obviously had a continuing relationship of some significance afterwards.

 However, many in the 158th St neighborhood wonder what happened when Cori Lewis moved into the second bedroom of Kelly Merz’ apartment about six months ago.

 Several neighbors, such as Mr. Courts and Ms. Bristol, say that Cori  “partied heavily,” and that the music was loud, long and disruptive.

 Further, Ms. Bristol says that Ms. Lewis invited another female to share her small 8×10 bedroom, making the social friction within the apartment even more acute.  Bristol told the Mountain News that Kelly had to obtain an eviction notice to remove the second woman, and that he also wanted to get rid of Cori Lewis at the same time but was unable to because of personal reasons.

 “He told me that he wanted to evict Cori, too, but he said that ‘she kind of flirted with me and I can’t say no,’” Ms. Bristol shared.

 Nevertheless, last Sunday night Kelly Merz killed Cori Lewis. 

 Mr. Courts says he heard the gun shot in the “7, 8 or 9 pm” time frame, but Ms Bristol said she was not home at the time and that her son never heard a thing even though his bedroom is directly above the one in which Ms Lewis died.

 ©  2011  The Mountain News – WA



Thomas K Faubion  –  Attorney at Law

35 Years Experience

Civil Law, Estate Planning and Wills

Volunteer Lieutenant in the Graham Fire and Rescue

This entry was posted in Cops and courts, Culture, Graham News, NTCC, South Hill. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Update on Lewis homicide: Shooter had strong ties to Graham

  1. Mary Schooley says:

    I like this format. MKS

  2. bill lewis says:

    Well I am the ex husband of cori lewis my name is bill lewis and we have a child together.so anything you would like to know you can email me at billbuilder64 @ g mail Mr merez was also among other things a peeping tom pervert, and was addicted to porn and other activities which the church is obviously not willing to talk about. Your article was very informative, and I’m sure his wife new of his problems. Cori was very creeped out earlier sunday and was going to stay with her mom. Kelly was trying to kinda blackmail her into a relation. This guy is a predator and now he has jeft my son with no mother, and me to pick up the pieces, The other girl was the roomate cori moved in last month, and once she did he quickly evicted the other girl and was infactauted with cori.

  3. brucesmith49 says:

    I understand that folks are having trouble posting their comments. If that is happening to you, you can email me your comments and I will post them here.

    We are currently endeavoring to correct this problem. Thanks for your patience. It may be a systems problem with our platform provider, “WordPress.” I know they were performing maintenence on the site a couple of days ago.

    – Bruce

  4. Mark Jownson says:

    hi bruce,
    from other people i heard from, drugs were involved and kelly was afraid and started carrying a gun out of fear. items were stolen from him and one source told me there were scratch marks on his face. i don’t doubt other accounts… this is just what a previous ntcc member told me (i’m a previous as well).

    on a side note…. you may find it interesting about roland moreno who shot his pregnant wife, kid, and himself in texas back in 2003. police nor anyone has a motive, but those of us who used to attend ntcc have a motive. moreno wanted to be a pastor in servicemens work in ntcc. davis taught that children can be a hinderance to the “work of the Lord”. in the following article, you’ll see that morenos wife said roland bought a gun when she told him they were pregnant.


    another victim(s) of the NTCC Cult which is a front for davis and kekels real estate business.

  5. brucesmith49 says:

    The following comes from Don and Ange Tumioli, former members of the NTCC:

    Very good article Bruce. We would like to say thank you to Nicole for
    her participation in this article. Many people are afraid to speak
    out against the New Testament Christian Churches or America, Inc,
    because the ntcc instills fear in the hearts of it’s members, both
    current and former. You don’t ever leave this church on good terms.
    If you leave this church you are told that you will spend eternity in
    the lake that burns with fire brimstone, forever and ever.

    I must add that there is no doubt, whatsoever that the New Testament
    Christian Churches of America, Inc. is an abusive and destructive
    cult. There is a huge community of X-members of the ntcc that will
    testify to this fact. There are hundreds of stories that are shared
    by X-members of the ntcc on the old Fact Net, Jeff Collins Blog, Our
    blog which is called ntccXerblog, Deborah’s Witness and others. Many
    people who have left the ntcc have told true stories of how the ntcc
    has destroyed past marital relationships and divided their families.
    There are many X-members whose lives have been devastated by the ntcc.
    They are not a normal church that believes in God’s grace and mercy
    but they use mind control tactics to keep people in line by requiring
    them to live by what they call holiness standards. These standards
    are defined by the ntcc but are not limited to the following:

    1. No facial hair on men.

    2. Women wear long dresses, no pants, no make-up or jewelry.

    3. Jeans are frowned upon for men and shorts are forbidden because
    someone might lust after their knees.

    While I see no problem with people doing what they feel led by God to
    do, the ntcc makes people feel unwelcome and uses these standards as a
    temperature gauge to measure their Christianity. They use these
    standards of dress to separate themselves from the world but what they
    are really doing is placing heavy and grievous burdens on people.
    They continue to add pressure to people’s lives by isolating them from
    their parents, siblings and old friendships. While they don’t usually
    come out and say you can’t visit your families back home, they place
    guilt trips on people by saying, “How can you visit family when souls
    are lost and on their way to hell” and if you love family more than
    Christ you are not fit to be a Christian. Many members of the ntcc
    have never been to a funeral or a wedding of their loved ones. They
    twist scriptures and use direct preaching to instill these unwritten
    rules into the minds of those that listen to them. They make you
    believe that they are the last move of God upon the earth and that you
    will never find the truth anywhere else.

    So when people leave the ntcc, it is no wonder that they have deeply
    seeded emotional and spiritual issues. The New Testament Christian
    Churches of America, Inc. in Graham, Washington is situated and run
    like many communal cult compounds in that many of it’s bible school
    students live on the compound and are controlled in their daily lives.
    There is great pressure to adhere to many unheard of standards like
    asking their pastor, Mike Kekel, who is the dean of the bible school
    for permission to go over to other members houses to fellowship. They
    have to ask to talk to members of the opposite sex and they have to
    get permission to have other members over to their houses for dinner
    or to give rides to other members in their cars. Are you beginning to
    see a pattern here?

    If you break any of their rules you are openly rebuked by being
    preached to from the pulpit in front of hundreds of your peers, and
    those peers are kept in line by fear of this happening to them. Does
    any of this sound Christ-like? When a person defies the leadership of
    the ntcc by questioning them in public they are usually run off or
    expelled from the organization.

    Saying all of this, I have to say that the ntcc shares some of the
    responsibility for what took place in Kelly Merz life to get him to
    the place where he was when he killed Ms. Lewis. We are not saying
    that the ntcc pulled the trigger or that Kelly Merz was not
    responsible, but we feel that Merz was a victim of severe spiritual
    and emotional trauma that led to his actions. As in the Moreno,
    triple homicide (we call it triple because in addition to killing his
    wife and son, there was an unborn baby that his wife was carrying),
    there is severe aftermath involved in the lives of those who are
    mistreated and eventually shunned by the ntcc. People feel like total
    failures with no hope of ever being right again.

    I am not saying that Kelly Merz actions should go unpunished or be
    lessened because of what he’s been through. If he was released, he
    might do the same thing again, who knows? But what I am saying is
    that the ntcc contributed greatly to his mental and and emotional
    state. He was a failure compared to his X-wife and was reduced to
    having his ntcc credentials revoked and being looked at as a failure
    by all the people who used to be his only friends. He went from being
    a “Saint of God, a King and a Priest” to being a pizza delivery driver
    living in his X-wive’s apartment complex and being shunned by everyone
    he knew and loved. It’s a very sad way to end up and it is all too
    common in the ntcc.

    We are exasperated that this kind of thing happens after all that we
    try to do to warn people to steer clear of the ntcc. People in the
    ntcc are so brainwashed and even after they leave and become X-ers
    they live in fear of the ntcc. We know that the ntcc is going to
    capitalize on this unfortunate incident to instill yet more fear into
    the hearts of it’s current and former members. As they have done in
    the past, they will tell people that this is what happens to you when
    you depart from God which is cult jargon for “if you leave the ntcc”.

    We offer a solution that we believe will minimize the chances of this
    type of atrocity ever happening again. The ntcc, needs a complete
    investigation into their financial dealings and their real-estate
    holdings. Because of freedom of religion there will always be cults
    in America that are allowed to impose spiritual and psychological
    abuse on it’s members and it’s unlikely you will ever be able to
    prosecute a cult and it’s leaders based on the fact that they
    brainwash people. However, the ntcc is one of the most crooked
    organizations that I have ever seen or been a part of. They have very
    many questionable business practices that would be uncovered by a
    thorough investigation. They deal in cash mostly which leaves no
    paper trail but they have many other vulnerabilities that would be
    uncovered in an detailed investigation. The ntcc calls itself a “non
    profit” organization but the leaders live in absolute total luxury in
    mansions driving Cadillacs, BMWs and expensive Recreational Vehicles,
    totally unaccountable and oblivious to the strict rules they impose on
    others. It’s definitely worth looking into.

    Don and Ange

  6. brucesmith49 says:

    The following comes from Don and Ange Tumioli, ex-members of the NTCC.

    Bruce please post this comment for us on your update on Lewis Homicide thread:

    We are glad you re-posted the Church behind the fence series so that people can see what the ntcc is all about.

    ( https://themountainnewswa.net/2011/09/19/the-new-testament-christian-church-of-graham-an-overview-2/#more-3221 )

    It’s important that people have all the details about the ntcc so they can know what people have been through in the ntcc.

    I know you have sensed this Bruce and I have to say that this whole thing stinks to high heaven. None of it makes sense. On Jeff Collins blog, Chief brought out some very interesting facts about why this whole thing just doesn’t add up. Summing up some of Jeff’s thoughts and adding my own opinions into the mix, these are details that leave a foul stench:

    1. R.W. Davis was reported to have encouraged people to rent from
    Mrs. Merz and current members of the ntcc are reported to be living in
    the four-unit apartments that she owns.

    2. This goes against the teachings of the ntcc that it is a sin for a
    woman to have a job. She was described as the go getter while Kelly
    was described as borderline retarded. For her to have this kind of
    business relationship with the founder of the ntcc, R.W. Davis, she
    had to be working at that time.

    3. Cherlyn was quick to say that there were no mental issues with
    Kelly when he was described by others as having emotional or cognitive
    impairments. While none considered him dangerous others said he was
    slow, had mental problems or was disturbed in some way, something was
    not right with him, he stuttered and was child like and compulsive,
    while they also said he was mild mannered and harmless. How would it
    be possible that his former wife of 20 years that employs him and
    lives in the apartments that she owns not realize that he has mental
    issues when everyone else did?

    4. Years after leaving the organization Cherlyn has a business
    relationship with the founder of an organization that teaches women
    aren’t supposed to work. Also the ntcc has never been an advocate of
    it’s own members having anything to do with X-members of their
    organization. If you are an X-member of the ntcc, you are considered
    a complete reject, people are told to have nothing to do with you and
    after all how can light and darkness dwell together? One has to go.
    In my thirteen years of affiliation with this organization I have
    never seen one exception to this rule.

    5. I know that Davis, the founder of the ntcc and Kekel the dean of
    the bible school love money and have lots of it. I’m sure this whole
    thing is a cash venture and there is not much of a paper trail but
    this is not the way that R.W. Davis does business. Perhaps there is
    an element to this story that many folks are overlooking. This kind
    of uncharacteristic behavior seems to occur when there is something to
    hide. In other words Cherlyn has something on Davis and he is forced
    into a situation of providing a steady stream of responsible tenants
    to occupy her apartments instead of having them turn into crack
    houses. Just an thought to entertain here. If you are living right
    you can shout Amen, if the shoe fit’s than you can say Oh, Me!

    Whatever the case may be, this whole thing does not add up. If you
    take a deep look into Bruce’s five part series, “The Church Behind the
    Fence”, you will find that there are many things that don’t add up
    about the ntcc.

    Don and Ange

    P.S. We are sending these comments to Bruce’s email to post because
    we are having problems posting comments. These problems could be on
    our end, we are not sure.

  7. Pingback: Body of homicide victim found in a shallow grave on 86th Ave in Graham; local residents provide critical information to police | The Mountain News – WA

  8. Michael Johnson says:

    The funny thing is, this could have been me. When your head is so twisted by a Cult and depravity sets in, there is no limit to the cruelty one can do. Ever heard of Jim Jones? Shut this Church Down. Now. For the Safety of Graham. Leave this church before your mind gets twisted like this so called “Called to NTCC to be Preacher” man.

    Thankfully I left this cult before it destroyed my marriage. The Pastor of the NTCC in Korea who was on a mission to destroy my unborn ultimately, indirectly succeeded, which resulted in my wife having a miscarriage and loosing my first born due to “excessive soulwinning” and walking around inviting folks to church. This same Pastor is now OUT of the NTCC and has a little boy of his own.

    Sadly, I was too brainwashed of NTCC twisted theology at the time to put my foot down and put a stop to the abuse my young wife went through. I will never be able to live that down, and I will take that shame to the grave.

    SFC Michael L. Johnson, US Army

  9. bill lewis says:

    If anyone can find away to figure out what mr. merz was kicked out the church for and what lead to the end of the 20 year marriage please contact me at billbuilder64@gmail.com

    • brucesmith49 says:

      Editor’s Note:

      Mr. Lewis’ comments above have been modified as per his mutual decision with the Mountain News. In his original post he shared some thoughts on how the incident took place; however, they have not been independently corroborated and we are in the process of doing just that.

      This occured due to yet another glitch at Word Press, and his original comments posted here without administrative review. The Mountain News apologizes for any unintended impact the initial posting may have had.

    • Bob says:

      he cheated on his wife, I was in jail with him he told me all about it, You people really do not know what you are talking about, as far as Kelly goes.

      • bill lewis says:

        oh yeah well now he is being charged with having sex with her dead body did he share that with you

  10. Pingback: A deeper look at the South Hill – Graham homicide: a profile of Cori Lewis | The Mountain News – WA

  11. Kevin76 says:

    It disturbs me that Pastor Kinson outright lied in his response. He has been in Graham for a very long time and was there when the Merz’s were lay pastors. To boldly say that it was before he got there, is a complete lie. I was there in Graham when Kinson was made an associate Pastor. He was part of the initial process of setting up lay pastors for the surrounding area. What a bunch of poppycock. He should have hung up the phone long before he did if he was trying to save any face.

  12. brucesmith49 says:

    Editor’s Note: Problems continue at Word Press and the following could not initially post; hence it was sent to the Mountain News via email. It is a response to Bill Lewis’ above request for more information related to the death of his ex-wife.

    From: Don and Ange Tumioli: 9.28.11 –

    We don’t know why Kelly Merz’ was kicked out of the church or what led to the end of his and Cherlyn’s 20 year marriage. But we do know some things about the NTCC that may give great insight to possible factors:

    1) NTCC teaches that black-white interracial marriages, such as the Merz’, “limit the ministry”-says NTCC founder Rodger W. Davis.

    a) When Kelly and Cherlyn asked their NTCC pastor to perform their wedding ceremony, they were turned down and discouraged from an interracial marriage. While home on leave from the Army and away from the NTCC, Cherlyn and Kelly got married.

    b) Friends have reported that Kelly and Cherlyn wanted to go to the NTCC bible school but were repeatedly discouraged from doing so due to this Davis doctrine.

    c) Something happened to change the NTCC mindset to allow the Merz to attend the bible school. We believe it had something to do with the Merz’ ability to acquire rental properties and pay tithe to the NTCC corporate headquarters in Graham, WA.

    i) NTCC discourages people from buying their own houses, humiliating them by blasting them from the bully pulpit with statements like “You love a house more than God.” Really though, NTCC wants it’s ministers to remain portable with all disposable income going into the many NTCC collection plates and offering baskets.

    ii) Despite the NTCC mobility and impoverishment program thrust on most of it’s members, the Merzes were encouraged to take up residence in the vicinity of the corporate NTCC in Graham, where their tithe was paid from the rent collected from NTCC bible school students and ministers. We wonder if that money was CASH ONLY and NO RECEIPTS like the dorm rent payments gathered at the NTCC bible school and many real estate rental properties owned by NTCC leaders and occupied by NTCC ministers both in Graham on the Bonco and scattered around the country? Seemingly this business arrangement continues despite both the Merzes being out of the NTCC. THAT is unheard of. Normally when anyone leaves the NTCC, they are dis-fellowshipped and NO CONTACT occurs between them and current NTCC members. So this business arrangement is quite uncharacteristic.

    2) If the NTCC prejudice against black-white marriages was not sufficient in and of itself to split up the Merzes 20 year union, there may have been other factors. Suppose there had been an incidence of infidelity? The Merzes need not have had their credentials revoked.

    a) After all, Phil Kinson, the pastor of the NTCC Bible Seminary in Graham Washington, was caught [allegedly] coming out of a whore house in Japan. The man who [reportedly] caught feel-good Phil confronted Kinson, who was so flustered he [allegedly] actually blurted out, “It’s not adultery if you wear a condom.” Uhm, to put this in perspective, one man shared about Phil’s remark, “He didn’t bang a whore; he banged a condom.” Crude but it puts things in an honest (red) light.

    b) Roland Moreno, who [reportedly] caught NTCC’s Graham Pastor Phil Kinson coming out of the whore house in Japan, tried to report the matter to the NTCC chain of command. Roland was not only stonewalled, he was crucified. According to multiple witnesses the NTCC did everything in their power to make his life miserable, even humiliating his wife for stopping one day to admire some horses. Rodger Davis blasted her from the pulpit at a ministers conference, mocking and saying that people were dying and on their way to hell… sigh. Typical NTCC cult guilt-tripping and public humiliation designed to mark the Morenos with a very negative stigma.

    c) Roland Moreno also wanted to minster to servicemen in the NTCC’s servicemen’s homes ministry. But NTCC would not allow him. Ostensibly he was denied because he had a child. Nevertheless other couples ran servicemen’s homes for NTCC despite having children.

    d) NTCC’s [arguably] systematic program to destroy the Moreno’s was [perhaps] more destructive than they anticipated. In 2003, when Moreno learned his wife was pregnant again, he bought a gun. He shot his pregnant wife, 5 year old son, and then called his NTCC pastor Jake Espinosa to confess and ask for prayer. Roland Moreno then shot himself.

    Link to the Moreno tragedy: http://www.texnews.com/1998/2003/texas/texas_Police_se925.html

    e) We see the depth of control the NTCC has on people’s lives. We see how destructive their guilt trips are. We see how despondent people become when the NTCC cuts them off after years of brainwashing them into thinking that leaving NTCC equals leaving God. And we see that the NTCC will stop at nothing to hide the sin of some, like Phil Kinson, while using basic joys of life, (such as stopping on the roadside to enjoy horses in a pasture), as a weapon to blacklist and cut off some people like the Morenos.

    3) Finally, we see the eternal tragic consequences in the deaths of some who got caught in the NTCC crossfire of protecting their real estate empire while promoting and aiding those who bring in capitol and demeaning and cutting off those who do not. The sad consequence of the NTCC corporation’s castigating of some individuals like the Morenos and Kelly Merz, while promoting philanderers like Phil Kinson, is a harvest of death that has reached out and garnered the Morenos and Cori Lewis.

    Our opinion is that the NTCC corporation needs to be held accountable for its severe abuse of position of trust.

    Don and Ange

  13. brucesmith49 says:

    Editor’s Note: Another post from Don and Ange Tumioli:


    One more comment for the Update On The Lewis Homicide thread:


    It is also reported that when former ntcc missionary and minister M.
    Reed confronted ntcc founder R. W. Davis about promoting an [alleged]
    adulterer, namely Philip Arthur Kinson. Davis [reportedly] pointed his
    finger in Reed’s face; and Davis responded angrily stating that Reed
    should not concern himself with another man’s adulterous affairs.
    Knowing Davis as we do, we see this as confirmation of Phil Kinson’s
    adultery by the ntcc founder himself, R. W. Davis!

  14. T.Whitt003 says:

    I usto work with kelly, i was his assistant manager at dominos pizza.. he would always say how he watched porn for several hours during the day & would get really into what he was talking about, way more detials then needed.. he would always creep around the young girls that would be working there & actually starded talking to a woman there & started getting serious.. he definatly was a strange man & everyone around him always felt uncomfterble.. he got switched to the dominos i was working at because he was accused of trying to hug all the girls & they did not want him there anymore & he did the same at the one he got switched to.. he would always say perverted statements to the young girls… & he would always talk about drugs & how he likes the feeling and the urge to get the next high.. his D.O.C he said was “meth”.. i do believe the drugs made him start carring a gun around and i also believe he was on meth when he killed the woman.. he always seemed like he was tweeking out at work..

  15. A concerned reader says:

    This is so sad…i don’t know your newspaper, never read it before, but from what I can see your purpose to to tie this murder to the church??? Is this a tabloid? Seriously, I would like to know.

    • brucesmith49 says:

      Greetings, Rudy,

      Thanks for reading the Mountain News.

      If you’re asking if we practice sleazy journalism at the Mountain News, the answer is no.

      Further, if you’re aksing if our purpose is to “tie this murder to the church,” the simple answer is again, no. That said, let me describe why I am examining links between the NTCC and Mr. Merz.

      What I am trying to do in my coverage of the New Testament Church is examine the behavior of individuals who call the NTCC their spiritual home, and ascertain how the teachings and practices of the church may be reflected in the community.

      A gruesome murder took place in a residence owned, managed and surrounded by former and current NTCC worshipers. In fact, the shooter was a former NTCC pastor. How does this all happen? Don’t you want to have a deeper, more complete understanding of all the factors that led to the death of Cori Lewis?

      I do, and I always will. To my view, there are no sacred cows on any subject, even religious organizations, and especially in homicides.

      Specifically, I do not think the NTCC directly caused the death of Ms. Lewis. However, I do believe they may have played an indirect role in developing the circumstances that led to her death, and for that their organization needs to be looked at.

      In general, the NTCC has proven themselves to be most suspect in a variety of areas. After nearly two years of investigation, I have come to learn that they appear to participate in what I consider to be inappropriate behavior that is arguably borderline criminal activity in terms of sexual relationships. Most notably, their policies and practices regarding marriage courtship is quite dangerous in my view, i.e.: it is not proper for military veterans in their twenties to be betrothed to young girls in their early teens, nor for young teen girls to be encouraged to “age-up.”

      On a professional level, my research of the NTCC has been met with repeated distortions, deceit and obfuscation by church members and leadership. That is not the hallmark of a healthy spiritual organization, in my view.

      What say you?

  16. bill lewis says:

    Ok this Is Bill Lewis again,so in a few days the trial of kelly merz is to start , huh why a trial you ask when he already confessed well google his name and you find after he killed my ex wife he spent so time with the body doing what she would never let him do. Now here is why I am trying to tie him to the church a church acted out and fired him and his wife divorced him, all at the same time two other pastors from the same church went to prision for having sex with a 12 and 14 year old. This guy has been a creep for a long time and if the church handled a criminal matter along with his wife ,enternally meaning hiding it from the law , then kelly would not have been allowed to be the land lord with female tenants in buildings which his ex wife owns, and members of the church rent and now I will also look into why dominoes employees and managers knew he was carrying a gun and gropping young girls yet was still allowed to go into customers house’s delivering pizza. So please if anyone knows anything as to why kelly was kicked from the church I wll give my email to bruce you can be anoyimous, what happened to my son’s mom appears to be very avoidable , please help

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