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LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – This week, the family of a murdered University of Kentucky nursing student will try to find the blessings in a year that turned their lives upside down. It’s this week’s Crime Stoppers Crime of the Week.

Throughout the holidays, Crime Stoppers focuses on unsolved 2021 homicide investigations in hopes that someone feels compelled to bring forward the piece of information that closes a recent case.

We begin with Jesse Averitt’s, a 28-year old who lost his life in the one place he should have felt safe.

Life is made up of chapters, and Jesse Averitt’s sister will tell you, he was writing his best one yet. He was months away from graduating nursing school at the University of Kentucky and buying his first home with his partner of 10 years.

“And, someone took that from him,” Hannah Averitt said. “Like his life meant nothing and I just don’t accept that.”

The nightmare began on March 4.

“His partner, Brandon, called me, and I was asleep and didn’t hear the phone ring,” said Jesse’s mother Lea Ann Lewis. “He said, ‘Jesse’s been shot! Jesse’s been shot!’ and I was like, I’m dreaming. This is not really happening.”

Lewis rushed to UK Hospital where pandemic restrictions left her alone to say goodbye to her firstborn.

“I went in and kissed him goodbye and rubbed his hair,” Lewis said. “It was just a horrible, horrible day.”

The days that followed were just as bad.

Lewis went to the De Porres Avenue home where Jesse and his fiancé were renting. She counted each of the 18 bullet holes that hit the house, took in the scene where Jesse had been sitting, while minding his own business playing video games.

“He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. And oddly enough, the wrong place was his own home.”

Lea Ann Lewis, Jesse’s mother

Downtown, at police headquarters, detectives are just as baffled. “I don’t want to use the word cold,” said Crime Stoppers coordinator Anthony Delimpo. “It’s not completely cold, but we don’t know who did it.”

Police said they’ve never believed Jesse and his partner were the intended targets that night.

“Whoever did this has talked to somebody and they’ve talked to somebody,” Delimpo said. “And we want to use this as a means for someone to reach out to us and tell us who did it.”


If you have any information about Jesse’s murder, call the Crime Stoppers tip line at 859-253-2020 or visit

Your information is completely anonymous, and your tip could earn you up to a $1,000 cash reward.