LANSING - The four remaining suspects in the murder of a Lansing woman this summer will be moving on to a trial. Tuesday a judge decided there was enough evidence to try Walee Al-Din, Mustafa Al-Din, Dion Lanier, and Demetris Kline in the shooting death of 19-year-old Shayla Johnson. A 14-year-old boy is also accused in the brutal slaying. Whether his case will go to trial has yet to be determined. The five are accused of killing Johnson in her home on Lenore Street in Lansing on July 23rd. On Monday charges were dropped against Charles Kunta Lewis, Ralphael Crenshaw, and Nicholas Brown when it was decided there was not enough evidence to place the three at the scene of the shooting.
"Evidence presented shows Mustafa Al-Din to have been involved at least at a level of probable cause," said Judge Charles Filice.
That was the decision for each of the four remaining men. Judge Filice had to find reasonable belief ---- or probable cause ---- that a crime was committed and that each of the defendants played a role.
"Shayla johnson was murdered -- an offense of homicide took place on July 23rd, 2010 at 619 Lenore street. She was shot at least five times and died as a result of her injuries."
All four suspects are facing the following charges: open murder, armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, home invasion, conspiracy to commit home invasion and felony firearm.
Prosecuting Attorney Catherine Emerson argued that the evidence was sufficient ---- with weapons found near Johnson's home including an AK-47 style rifle, the car where the body of Shayla Johnson was found, which was driven by one of the defendants; and a confession of involvement from some of the defendants.
But the suspects' lawyers spent tuesday morning arguing that whatever evidence emerson has does not connect them to the crime.
The four defendants will be facing the same six charges in trial as in the preliminary hearing. While the attorneys tried to get the charges the dismissed, they weren't surprised by the judge's decision.
"It wasn't unexpected," said Toby White, the attorney for suspect Demetris Kline. "The statements being attributed to my client are going to result in a bind over in this type of hearing."
But this case is far from over.
"We have further defense to offer so this is just one step along the way," said White.
And there is much more evidence to come and defense since probable cause does not equal guilt.