U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Western District of Michigan
Western District of Michigan
For Immediate Release
Thursday, May 22,2014
Patrick A. Miles, Jr., United States Attorney
Contact: Kaye Hooker
Sentences Imposed in Federal Drug Trafficking and Murder Case
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — Four Lansing men were sentenced this week in U.S. District Court, 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 during August, 2013. After a two-week trial, they were convicted 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. The sentences imposed were 50 years for Mustafa Al-Din, 60 years for Wallee Al-Din, life plus a consecutive term of seven years for Lewis, and 47 ½ years for Crenshaw.
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 pattern of robbing and at times beating victims for drugs, money and other valuable items. Their violent conduct culminated in the kidnaping and first degree murder of Shayla Johnson. The defendants wrongly believed Shayla Johnson had access to a large number 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 resisted, she was fatally shot multiple times with an assault rifle.
In the fall of 2010, the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office sought the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the prosecution of the matter because of serious concerns over allegations of obstruction and intimidation by gang members. The decision was made to transfer the case to federal court for prosecution.
"These lengthy sentences highlight the acts of senseless violence committed by these individuals; their actions were particularly heinous and brutal," said Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent in Charge Steven Bogdalek. "It is my hope that these sentences will bring some measure of comfort to the family of Shayla Johnson and to the other victims. I want to commend the investigative efforts our ATF Special Agents, Lansing Police Department, Meridian Township Police Department, Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office, and the United States Attorney’s Office."
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Timothy P. VerHey and Brian K. Delaney and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Catherine Emerson, on assignment from the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office.