Following a Super Bowl XXXIV party in Atlanta on January 31, 2000, a fight broke out between Lewis and his companions and another group of people, resulting in the stabbing deaths of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar. Lewis and two companions, Reginald Oakley and Joseph Sweeting, were questioned by Atlanta police, and 11 days later the three men were indicted on murder and aggravated-assault charges. The fight occurred about 200 yards from the Cobalt Lounge at 265 East Paces Ferry Road in the Buckhead Village neighborhood about two miles north of downtown Atlanta where Lewis had been celebrating. The white suit Lewis was wearing the night of the killings has never been found. Fulton CountyDistrict Attorney Paul Howard alleged the blood-stained suit was dumped in a garbage bin outside a fast food restaurant.A knife found at the scene did not have any fingerprints or DNA. Lewis subsequently testified that Oakley and Sweeting had bought knives earlier in Super Bowl week from a Sports Authority where Lewis had been signing autographs. Baker's blood was found inside of Lewis's limousine.
Two weeks into the trial Lewis's attorneys, Don Samuel and Ed Garland, negotiated a plea agreement with the District Attorney where the murder charges against Lewis were dismissed in exchange for his testimony against Oakley and Sweeting, and his guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge of obstruction of justice. Lewis admitted he gave a misleading statement to police on the morning after the killings (initially telling them that he was not at the scene). Superior Court Judge Alice D. Bonner sentenced Lewis to 12 months' probation. One year in prison is the maximum sentence for a first-time offender, and the immediate probation was the judge's decision. He was also fined $250,000 by the NFL, which was believed to be the highest fine levied against an NFL player for an infraction not involving substance abuse. Under the terms of the sentence, Lewis could not use drugs or alcohol during the duration of the probation.
On April 29, 2004, Lewis reached a settlement with four-year-old India Lollar, born months after the death of her father Richard, pre-empting a scheduled civil proceeding. Lewis also reached an undisclosed settlement with Baker's family.
During a taped pre-game interview with Shannon Sharpe that aired on CBS before Super Bowl XLVII, Sharpe told Lewis that the families of the slain men find it difficult to see Lewis idolized by millions of fans, believing he knows more about the killings than he shared, and asked if what he had to say to those families. Lewis responded, "God has never made a mistake. That’s just who He is, you see.... To the family, if you knew, if you really knew the way God works, He don’t use people who commits anything like that for His glory.”
The Ravens' crisis management around Lewis's murder trial was revisited by Brian Billick, by then a media analyst, after the 2013 arrest of Aaron Hernandez and his swift release by the New England Patriots.[52