Update: Charles Lewis Jr. in court for hearing

Posted at 1:02 PM, Aug 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-09 18:12:36-04

A recent mistake could result in a life sentence for Charles Lewis, Jr.

"He should've known better, he should've known a lot better," Judge R. George Economy said.

At age 13, Lewis was one of several people present when Shayla Johnson was dragged from her home, beaten and killed in an attempted robbery.

Judge Economy has been closely watching the now 19-year-old since he was found guilty of felony murder.

At Tuesday's quarterly review hearing, the Judge learned Lewis tried to cheat on a drug test using a false urine sample.

"Initially he said that he found it in the bathroom and he was really not wanting to get anyone in trouble, so he planned to throw it away," explained Alexis Terry, Program Director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Group Home. "He did eventually come clean about what happened."

Terry is Lewis's therapist. He told her he drank because he's struggling with his mom's diagnosis of cancer.

"Seven years ago, I said to him, I expect to watch and make sure that you're doing everything you should do. If you trip over a branch, I can maybe accept that, if you step into a pothole, I will not accept that," Judge Economy said.

Now, he has to decide which category this offense falls under because Judge Economy could sentence Lewis to life in prison.

At the hearing, Lewis's attorney reminded the Judge all of his other screens have been negative, while Terry admitted he's at a low risk for re-offending and has no potential for violent conduct.

"I am very confident that he has learned his lesson and has no plans to commit another serious offense like this," Terry said.

Judge Economy has one year left before Lewis's 21st birthday, when he has to decide if he agrees.

Judge Economy said he'll be paying close attention over the next three months and could decide to have Lewis locked up again.

Lewis is expected to start classes at Macomb Community College this month. His therapist said he just had a job interview and is expected to be hired shortly.


Charles Lewis Jr. was back in a Lansing court today for a commitment review hearing. The 19-year-old was convicted of the murder of Shayla Johnson when he was 13-years-old.

He appears before Judge George Economy for a status hearing every three months to determine his progress and behavior. New information that could have affected Lewis's status came out during the hearing.

Lewis is supposed to give urine samples from time to time for periodic testing. It was revealed in court today that in a recent test, Lewis attempted to use a urine sample that he obtained from someone else.

Lewis is living in a transitional home at the MLK House in Macomb County. Someone at the home spotted him with the sample and asked him about it. Lewis lied when confronted, but later confessed that the sample did not belong to him.

Lewis told the court that he used the fake sample because he had consumed an alcoholic drink. Lewis claims that he drank alcohol because his mother is suffering from terminal cancer.

Judge Economy did not make a ruling at this time, and stated that he is waiting to see how the next three months go before ruling on Lewis's status.

Lewis is expected to start attending classes at Macomb Community College at the end of August.

The judge could still rule sometime in the next few months to send Lewis to prison, where he could face a life sentence.