Charles Lewis Junior, the teen convicted for his role in the death of a Lansing woman was in court Tuesday for the first time since his sentencing.
The hearing was a chance to talk about the treatment he's been getting in a juvenille facility and if he still belongs there.
"We are watching him, not only talking the talk, walk the walk, show us behaviorally," social worker Habte Dafa, with the Maxey Boys Training School said.
The now 16-year-old has been at Maxey since April, when he was sentenced for his part in the killing of 19-year-old Shayla Johnson. He could be serving life in prison, instead he got a chance.
"He's not doing time, he's doing treatment," Dafa explained.
Social workers say Lewis Junior had a rocky start. "He tended to threaten kids," Dafa told the court. Dafa continued to say that behavior didn't last long.
Lewis Junior also told lies to protect his father. Case workers say he didn't understand he could be sent to an adult system. Now they believe he is making progress, in school and therapy.
"He's more open and he's talking more," Juvenille Justice Specialist Victor Bozzo said. "He's always been appropriate with me, he's always been respectful, but he didn't have a lot to say when I first met him."
At Maxey, Lewis Junior has classes daily until 2:30, then behavioral treatment begins. It includes group sessions, problem sessions, even a victim panel where the father of another murder victim, killed the same night as Johnson, talked with the teen.
"He's opening up and volunteering to talk about his committing offense, how horrendous it was and how sorry he was," Daffa said.
Lewis Junior's mother was also in court. She says she's happy with her son's progess. She misses him and wants him home, but like the case workers realizes this is just the beginning of his treatment.
Judge George Economy spoke directly to Lewis in court, telling the teen, he is under close watch.
"We need to know that it goes all the way to the core of you when we see a change," Economy said.
Economy says Maxey is the right place for Lewis now. The teen is due back for another progress report in six months. He could possibly leave incarceration at age 21.