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Victim's mother reacts to Charles Lewis Jr. going missing

Posted: 8:58 AM, Sep 08, 2016
Updated: 2016-09-08 08:58:14-04

"Initially I was like, 'How did this happen? How is somebody in our justice system that's supposed to be incarcerated, how is he in a position where he is able to walk out?' That's my initial concern," Lori Black, the mother of Shayla Johnson, who was killed in 2010 by a group of men including Charles Lewis Jr.

Black says she wasn't even told that Lewis was missing until two days after he left. "It is a conviction for murder and I understand that there's a process that he's been going through and they have decided to put him at different levels, but how can do we get to a level where we're able to walk out of a facility," she said.

Lewis has had regular hearings since he was convicted of first degree murder to see how he's doing. He has generally shown progress through the reintegration process. Black says she tries to go to these hearings, but it is emotionally difficult.

"This is a constant, continuing thing where we're always in court with this defendant, and it never just gets put to rest where I can just fully grieve about it," she said.

Black says she still thinks about her daughter every day, but sometimes it feels like all the emphasis is now on helping Lewis become a better person, and the victim has been forgotten.

"I cannot emphasize enough how important Shayla is to each and every one of us, our family, her friends," Black said. "I just feel like it doesn't matter anymore and it should."