Teens charged in slaying of Detroit church guard

18-year-old, 15-year-old accused of shooting 84-year-old Joseph Lewis to death in parking lot of Victory Way Assembly Church of God in Christ

Author: Lauren Podell, Local 4 Reporter, @Local4Lauren, lpodell@wdiv.com
Published On: May 23 2012 12:59:20 PM EDT   Updated On: May 23 2012 05:58:10 PM EDT
Joseph Lewis
DETROIT -

It’s not every day that see a ninth-grader enters a court room to be charged charged with murder.

But on Wednesday, Anthony Williams, 15, and Alandre Boone, 18, and were arraigned  in Detroit on charges of second-degree murder and felony firearm in the May 9 shooting death of church guard Joseph Lewis Jr.

Both are charged as adults and face a possible penalty of life in prison if convicted.

security guard killer suspect

“It’s sad, really. It’s not only sad for my family but for the young mens', too. now they know how I feel,” said Anthony Lewis, son of the 84-year-old guard.

Lewis sat in court during the arraignment but told Local 4 he is praying for the accused killers and their families.

"They are going to be in a lot of pain," Anthony Lewis, 51, said outside 36th District Court. "This is a tragedy for Detroit and a wake-up call. We've got to do something on our streets."

Magistrate Sidney Barthwell Jr. entered a not-guilty plea on behalf of the teens and ordered each held without bond pending a June 5 preliminary examination.

Prosecutors say Boone and Williams assaulted Lewis around 8:30 p.m. in his car parked in the lot of the Victory Way Assembly Church of God in Christ on Tireman.

Authorities say in the struggle, Lewis suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the chest. He was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

"From all reports, Mr. Lewis faithfully guarded his church, took care of his friends and was kind to all," Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said Wednesday in a statement.

“My father was taken from me at 84 years old,” said Lewis. “But this boy will be taken by the justice system at 15 years old and may be gone for a many years to come.”

Friend: Slain security guard 'Didn't deserve this'

Deadly church shooting Detroit 592012

Charles Wilson was friends with Lewis and said Lewis was a kind man and wouldn't have hurt the men attacking him. 

“He didn’t deserve this," he said.  

The church's pastor, Sylvester Rowan, said the church’s neighborhood is a dangerous place and the church is needed there now more than ever.

"My resolve is that we're not going to retreat one inch .. we're going to stand our ground," Rowan said.