'And she looked at me and stopped breathing'

'And she looked at me and stopped breathing' »Play Video
UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. -- Keisha Lewis took her last breath in her best friend's arms, and now that friend is speaking out about the burst of violence that shattered a family.

Latasha Taylor was with Lewis Monday night when she was stabbed to death outside of her University Place home. Investigators believe Lewis' former boyfriend, Joseph A. Lester, brutally murdered her before fleeing with their 9-month-old daughter.

Taylor said she spent the past two days with Lewis and knew that she and Lester had a turbulent relationship and had been fighting about the couple's young daughter.

Pierce County Detective Ed Troyer confirmed that Lewis and Lester got into an ugly altercation just a few weeks ago that ended with Lester being stabbed in the leg.

Taylor believes that earlier altercation could have played a role in last night's attack.

She said Lester came over last night and Lewis went outside to talk to him. Moments later she heard someone screaming for help and went outside to find Lewis covered in blood.

Taylor said all she could do was hold her best friend and listen to her last words.

"She said take care of her son. Make sure Jayvon was okay," she said.

Two-year-old Jayvon is Lewis' son from another relationship. The boy and his nine-month-old sister, who was found safe last night after Lester turned himself in, are now in state protective custody.

Taylor said Lewis had a hard life growing up. One of 14 children, she said Lewis' godmother raised her and that's who she's been living with. Despite her troubles, she said Lewis was a good person and had big plans for her life, which included an addition to her family. Taylor said Lewis was pregnant again, and that Lester was the father.

The two best friends had also recently agreed to go to school together to get into nursing. Instead, Taylor comforted her friend during her last moments.

"And I told her to hold on and I told her I loved her," Taylor said. "And she looked at me and stopped breathing."

Lester is now in jail, and we're learning more about why he wasn't under state supervision at the time of last night's murder.

A judge ordered Lester to be supervised for 36 months when he was released from prison on a robbery conviction in 2009. But thanks to a newly-passed law, Lester was not under supervision.

The Department of Corrections was forced to stop supervising 10,000 offenders after a 2009 law was passed to save money, and because Lester was classified as low or moderate risk, he was one the offenders lost in the shuffle.

Lawmakers said research showed ending the minimal supervision for these types of offenders wouldn't increase crime rates. A report on the impact of the new law will be presented to the legislature next month. Meanwhile, the governor has ordered the DOC to look at even deeper cuts due to a growing budget shortfall.