It’s a story we first introduced you to back in 2010, the sentencing of Charles Lewis Jr., who was only 13-years old during the shooting death of Shayla Johnson.
Johnson was 19-years old when police and prosecutors say, a group of men and a teenager, burst into her home on Lenore Avenue in Lansing and took her outside, kicking and screaming.
The teenager in that group was then, 13-year old, Charles Lewis Jr.
According to prosecutors, it was a drug related kidnapping plan that went horribly wrong.
Because after the 19-years old victim was thrown into the trunk of a car, she was fatally shot multiple times.
But today, 7-years after Johnson’s murder, Lewis Jr., at the age of 20, was back in court facing the same judge who will decide whether or not Lewis will become a free man or not.
Years ago, Judge George Economy ruled that because Lewis was a teenager at the time, he would have a delayed sentence, meaning he could be held at a juvenile facility up to the age of 21, and then have his sentence re-assessed.
However, any bad behavior, would have Lewis looking at an uncertain future.
“If you do something that’s a bump, okay I can understand that, if you hit a pothole, then you need to know the moment you hit that pothole that I will strongly consider placing you in prison for the rest of your life without parole,” said Judge Economy during Lewis’s first sentencing hearing back in April 2012.
And potholes, are just what brought Lewis back to the courtroom today.
During the hearing, Judge Economy heard from several witnesses who’ve interacted with Lewis during his time in the juvenile justice system, as they expressed their opinions on whether or not Lewis should be allowed to re-enter society.
“Yeah, I still have some hope, it’s not as strong as it once was, I have to be honest with you, due to the fact that ya know, the things that have transpired,” says Former Juvenile Justice Specialist for Ingham County, Victor Bozzo.
Those things, include Lewis walking away from his job, secretly leaving his group home in Macomb County, and reportedly stealing a car.
However after all of that, many of today’s witnesses say they believe, there’s still a chance for Lewis, and he should be released.
ATTORNEY: “You believe that Charles is hopeful for the future based on your interview with him and your evaluation of him?”
CHILD AND ADOLESCENT PSYCHIATRIST, DR. THOMAS ATKINS: “I believe he is, yes.”
“I think that ya know, he’s worth the effort okay,” says Bozzo.
However, if released, witnesses told the court today, Lewis should be offered additional services to assist him in dealing with life outside of custody.
And even though he’s matured, he still struggles with impulsive behavior.
“I would feel comfortable saying that he could be safe in society, I’m not able to say that he will not commit any other crimes,” says Atkins.
Judge Economy has a very difficult decision to make.
Will he allow Lewis to be released?
Or will he keep him in the criminal justice system?
Lewis’s sentencing hearing will continue tomorrow morning, where more witnesses will testify.
It’s unclear tonight if or when Judge Economy will make a decision.