Woman pleads no contest in fatal stabbing of Warren Fitzgerald classmate

Ariana Taylor
The Detroit News

The young woman who was charged with stabbing a classmate to death at Warren Fitzgerald High School has pleaded no contest. 

In a pretrial conference on Wednesday, Tanaya Lewis entered the plea in Macomb County Circuit Court to one count of premeditated, first-degree murder in the September 2018 death of 16-year-old Danyna Gibson. 

Defendant Tanaya Lewis,18, looks straight ahead during the testimony of Detective Jim Twardesky at her preliminary exam.

Lewis will be sentenced by Judge Kathryn A. Viviano on Sept. 16, four days after the two-year anniversary of Gibson's death.

"There are specific rules for no contest, nolo contendere pleas, and she fit within that category, so that's why that was done," said Mark L. Brown, Lewis' attorney.

Authorities allege Lewis brought a steak knife to school on Sept. 12, 2018, and stabbed Gibson with it during class in front of 20 witnesses. The girls were described by police as straight-A students who had apparently argued and texted each over a student, “Evan,” whom both had dated.

Warren Police Detective James Twardesky testified in 2019 that during initial questioning about the incident, Lewis said of Gibson, "I don’t like her … I hate her."

Twardesky testified Lewis described Evan, a classmate, as the “love of her life” and said they had broken up over the summer. But the pair were working on their relationship and Gibson “was ruining everything.”

Danyna Gibson

Witnesses told police Lewis smiled and laughed as she chased Gibson with the knife.

Gibson, who died during surgery from two stab wounds in the chest, was a National Honor Society student and active on the school’s cross country team, student council, robotics club, color guard and marching band.