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Detroit man charged in spray-painted threat against DPD

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

Detroit — A 49-year-old Detroit man charged with threatening Detroit police isn’t a fan of Chief James Craig but “doesn’t have a violent bone in his body,” according to his uncle.

Stuart Horatio Lewis, 49, denied painting the threats — “kill James Craig” and “kill all cops” — during an interview on WJBK (Fox 2-TV), said Lewis’ uncle, 73-year-old John Lewis. The graffiti was discovered on a building near Exeter and West State Fair.

“His exact words were ‘I don’t think (Craig) is a nice person,’ and that’s not a crime,” the uncle said outside court Tuesday. “That’s not a threat.”

The younger Lewis was arraigned Tuesday before 36th District Court Magistrate Millicent Sherman on charges of making a threat of terrorism, possession with intent to deliver marijuana and malicious destruction of a building. He faces up to 20 years in prison on the terrorism threat charge.

Sherman set bond at $25,000, 10 percent. Lewis is due back in court Nov. 1 for a probable cause conference. His preliminary examination is set for Nov. 7.

Both hearings are expected to be heard by 36th District Court Judge Deborah Langston.

Lewis has a lengthy criminal record, according to the Michigan Department of Corrections, beginning with a 1985 arrest for false pretenses. He was given five days in jail.

His uncle on Tuesday confirmed the man spent time in prison a year later, but declined to elaborate.

According to Corrections, the suspect was arrested in 1986 for larceny from a motor vehicle. While on probation for that charge, he was arrested later that year for unlawfully driving away in an automobile.

Lewis was sentenced to 18 months to 5 years in prison for the unlawful driving charge, and re-sentenced to two to five years on the larceny charge.

While on parole in 1989, Lewis again was arrested for receiving and concealing, for which he was given a six- to 10-year sentence.

He was discharged in 1998 but put back on probation from 2002 to 2003 on controlled substance charges, according to Corrections officials.

Lewis’ uncle defended him after Tuesday’s arraignment.

“He’s no dealer,” John Lewis said. “Stuart is a working man. He’s had a pretty good job for years, he keeps to himself and he doesn’t bother anybody.”

The uncle said he is most concerned about the current terroristic threat charge.

“When you attach that word to anyone, it’s going to make them look bad,” John Lewis said. “The way it’s been reported, it makes him look like the worst guy in the world.”

In an ironic twist, the elder Lewis recently met the police chief at an August event, he said.

“I think he’s the best chief this city’s ever had,” Lewis said. “The only thing he’s ever done that I don’t like is (with) Stuart’s characterization.”

The younger Lewis initially was arrested Friday but released Sunday after an Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor declined to sign a warrant, Craig said at a Monday press conference. He was re-arrested Monday after the warrant was signed.

Craig repeatedly criticized the unnamed assistant prosecutor for what he called “substandard” work in adjourning the warrant Sunday.

“It’s one thing (for prosecutors) to request additional evidence to support a probable cause, but that was not the case. This was more (like) verifying that the investigators actually had the evidence in their custody,” he said.

Craig declined to specify what type of evidence the prosecutor sought to verify. He added that investigators have other evidence besides the graffiti.

The allegations against Lewis jumped far beyond First Amendment free speech and into the realm of a crime, Craig said.

“Certainly, this was not vague. It was clear as to the intent of the suspect,” he said. “When you threaten to kill an officer, it’s serious ... and it is a threat against all of us.”

HFournier@detroitnews.com

(313) 223-4616

@HollyPFournier