A Michigan teen was arraigned Friday on first-degree premeditated murder charges in the stabbing death of her former friend and classmate last week in a suburban Detroit city.
Tanaya Lewis is accused of stabbing 16-year-old Danyna Gibson twice in the back and twice in the chest, with one of the blows piercing the straight-A student in the heart, according to the Warren Police Department. Authorities said Lewis chased her fleeing friend around their Fitzgerald High School economics class smiling and laughing as she yelled, “I’m going to kill her.”
Lewis, who was also a straight-A student and boasted a 4.0-plus GPA, was reportedly upset with Gibson for ratting to her 17-year-old boyfriend that Lewis was cheating on him, the Detroit Free Press reported. Lawyers said it’s unclear if the suspect made threats on social media prior to the Sept. 12 stabbing.
It was the first homicide to take place inside a Macomb County school.
“Premeditation is abundant in this case,” Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith said after a judge ordered Lewis be held in the county jail without bond. “It’s as simple as the fact that she brought a knife to school — that in and of itself is premeditation. But there was previous dispute, there (were) things said previous to this … the fact that the defendant chased the victim throughout the class while this was going on.”
Eleventh-grader Francesca Pascua, 17, recalled the shocking incident, which she said happened as students were breaking into group sessions. Lewis, who was armed with what witnesses described as a kitchen-style steak knife, committed the attack in front of 20 to 30 students.
“I heard screaming, and I thought everyone was running from a bug or something,” Pascua told The Detroit News earlier this month. “I turned around and saw a girl stab another girl.”
“It went in, and it went out,” she added. “There was blood everywhere and she (the victim) ran.”
There was no video of the attack and lawyers said there was no altercation between the girls beforehand. The attack came as “a complete surprise” to the victim,” Smith told the newspaper.
A school resource officer jumped into action after hearing Gibson’s screams from down the hall. However, Smith said the attack happened so quickly that it still might not have been stopped even if an SRO had been in the classroom.
Gibson, a member of the marching band, robotics clubs and various other school activities, was rushed to a hospital, where she died less than an hour later. According to The Detroit Free Press, an autopsy by the Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office showed Gibson, 16, died of multiple stab wounds, two of which punctured her heart and lung.
As for Lewis, she’s due back in court Sept. 27 and Oct. 4. She’s expected to be charged as an adult.
A law firm has since launched an investigation into the fatal stabbing, the Macomb Daily reported.
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