Four Lansing men were convicted of drug trafficking, armed robbery and first degree murder in U.S. District court in Grand Rapids late Wednesday afternoon, announced U.S. Attorney Patrick A. Miles, Jr.
The men-- Charles Kunta Lewis, age 36, Wallee Abdullazeem Al-Din, age 24, his brother, Mustafa Al-Din, age 25, and Ralphael Crenshaw, age 24-- were tried by a jury before U.S. District Judge Robert J. Jonker. After a two-week trial, the jury convicted the defendants of conspiring to commit drug trafficking crimes and robbery, and using a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime resulting in murder.
The four defendants were found guilty of abducting and murdering Lansing resident Shayla Johnson, age 19, in an effort to obtain drugs. This charge carries a maximum term of life in prison.
Evidence at trial established that the defendants were members and associates of a violent Lansing street gang known as the Block Burners. The prosecution's evidence demonstrated that during one six-week span in the summer of 2010, the defendants were involved in a violent pattern of robbing and at times beating victims for drugs, money and other valuable items. Their violent conduct culminated in the kidnapping and first degree murder of Shayla Johnson. The defendants wrongly believed Shayla Johnson had access to a large amount of marijuana plants. The defendants planned to kidnap her in order to compel her to disclose the location of the marijuana plants. Acting on their plan the defendants entered her home, forced her from her bedroom, and brutally shoved her into the trunk of a vehicle. When Ms. Johnson fought back, she was fatally shot multiple times with an assault rifle.
No sentencing date has yet been announced. Another person convicted in the murder is Charles Lewis Junior. He was found guilty for his role in Johnson's murder last year. The 16-year-old is currently being held at Maxey-- a juvenile detention center and training school in Whitmore Lake. A judge will determine if he will spend the rest of his life behind bars when he turns 21.