Lewis makes mistake that could lead to life sentence

Posted: 8:00 AM, Aug 10, 2016
Updated: 2016-08-10 08:01:35-04

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.