Lansing Clergyman Urges Just Sentence in Juvenile’s Murder Case

Apr 3, 2012

A prominent Lansing clergyman is calling on an Ingham County judge to be lenient in his sentencing of a juvenile convicted of murder.  The pastor and the teen’s mother say Charles T. Lewis, Jr. should not receive life without parole. 

Charles T. Lewis, Jr. was 13 when he, along with his father and a band of young men broke into 19-year-old Shayla Johnson’s apartment in 2010.  Prosecutors contend Lewis Senior shot and killed Johnson; still, the younger Lewis was convicted as an alleged conspirator.  The Reverend Melvin Jones with the Union Missionary Baptist Church in Lansing says Lewis’ case is an example of a young man brought up in a culture of criminal association.

"We believe, however, that to sentence a 13-year-old child to life in prison as an adult is not only the equivalence of taking another life, but a failure of the justice system to respond to the need of rehabilitation services for the young," says Rev. Jones.

Ingham County Judge George Economy will issue a sentence on Wednesday.  Reverend Jones is urging the judge to allow Lewis to serve in juvenile detention until he turns 21.