Lansing gang members accused of killing a woman in July of 2010 will not face the death penalty, according to news reports. Shayla Johnson was killed in the course of a robbery at her Lansing home on July 23, 2010. While no explanation was offered, West Michigan federal prosecutors were notified by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder that the death penalty would not be sought in the case in which a violent street gang known as the “Block Burners” allegedly killed the woman. The killing is said to be drug-related.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim VerHey stated in court documents that the United States would not be seeking the death penalty in the case. The letter from Holder to the Michigan federal prosecutors stated that, “You are authorized and directed not to seek the death penalty against Mustafa Abdul-Qadir Al-Din, Walee Abdullazeem Al-Din, Charles Kunta Lewis Sr., and Ralphael Remier Crenshaw.” Another defendant in the case who is awaiting trial, Nicholas Brown, is also included in the order.
A trial in the case is expected this year. The Lansing State Journal reported that the victim, who was 19 years old at the time of the crime, was thrown into the trunk of a car and shot numerous times after being dragged from her home on Lenore Street. The gang members, according to court testimony, had allegedly planned to kidnap Johnson and rob her of marijuana.
Members of the Block Burners gang had allegedly committed several acts of violence separate from this incident, many of which involved guns and were carried out in an effort to obtain drug money and drugs. The charges against the men of committing a drug-trafficking crime using a gun could have led to the death penalty.
Charges of drug trafficking can leave individuals who are convicted facing up to life in prison, depending on the amount of drug involved. In this case, the fact that someone was killed in a plot to rob someone of drugs complicates things even further. Michigan criminal defense attorneys know that these are extremely serious charges, and that without effective legal counsel individuals will generally face the harshest possible penalties.
If you have been arrested for drug crimes or even murder, do not waste time before contacting a skilled Michigan criminal defense lawyer who will work to protect your freedom and obtain a positive outcome.