Posted on January 17, 2013

No Death Penalty for Four Lansing Men in Shayla Johnson Homicide

Lansing State Journal, January 11, 2013

Four men facing federal charges in the 2010 drug-related killing of a Lansing woman will not face the death penalty, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has decided.

In a letter to federal prosecutors in Grand Rapids, dated Jan. 7, Holder wrote: “You are authorized and directed not to seek the death penalty against” the four defendants.

The four Lansing men — Mustafa Al-Din, 25, Walee Al-Din, 23, Charles Lewis Sr., 35, and Ralphael Crenshaw, 23 — are charged in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids in the July 2010 killing of Shayla Johnson.

A trial is expected this year.

Johnson, 19, was dragged from her Lenore Street house, thrown into a car trunk and shot several times, according to court testimony.

Prosecutors say the men were members of a previously unknown Lansing street gang called the “Block Burners.”



They had supposedly planned to kidnap her in an attempt to rob her of marijuana, according to testimony.


The men face charges, including using a gun during a drug-trafficking crime that resulted in death. That charge could have led to the death penalty.


A total of eight people originally were charged in the case.

Two defendants — Dion Lanier, 20, and Demetris Kline, 20, both of Lansing — pleaded guilty to murder during the commission of a drug transaction and sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.

Charles Lewis Jr., who was 13 years old at the time of the incident, was convicted in Ingham County juvenile court of first-degree murder and is being held at a high-security juvenile facility. {snip}