First Washtenaw County Sexual Assault Kit Initiative charges announced; conviction secured in Kalamazoo

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Washtenaw County Prosecutor Eli Savit announced sexual assault charges against Lewis Junior Smith in two separate cases as a result of ongoing testing through the state’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI), which was established to investigate and prosecute sexual assaults related to previously untested sexual assault evidence kits. The cases against Smith are the first to be charged through the Washtenaw County SAKI.

Meanwhile, the Kalamazoo County SAKI secured its 11th conviction, which is also the 11th case to result from the initiative.

In Washtenaw County, Smith, 37, was arraigned two weeks ago on the following in Ann Arbor District Court.

• Two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, a felony punishable by up to life in prison.

• Kidnapping, a felony punishable by up to life in prison or a fine up to $50,000, or both.

• Two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, felonies punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

This case stems from a 2018 incident in which Smith reportedly held the victim against her will so that he could sexually assault her. The defendant kept the victim intoxicated and possibly drugged for several hours and sexually assaulted her multiple times.

Then, last Friday, Smith was arraigned on the second case, which involves the following charges:

• One count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, a felony punishable by up to life in prison.

• One count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, felonies punishable by up to 15 years in prison. 

The second case stems from a 2015 incident in which Smith reportedly assaulted a woman who was staying at his house in Ypsilanti. The defendant kept the victim drugged so that he could sexually assault her.

He is charged as a fourth habitual offender in both cases and is currently held without bond. Smith’s next court appearance is Aug. 26 for a probable cause conference at 9 a.m.

“The work done by our SAKI teams continues to be pivotal in securing charges in cold case sexual assaults,” Nessel said. “These ongoing cases should serve as a reminder to survivors that while justice may be delayed, we are here to ensure it will not be denied.”

“I’m grateful for the excellent work our SAKI team has done on these cases with the support of the Attorney General, and for the work it will continue to do going forward.” Savit said. “No matter how long it takes, we are committed to ensuring justice for sexual assault survivors - and we will.”

Other survivors who would like to report information related to Smith should call the Washtenaw County SAKI investigator at 734-476-6782.

Since 2013 the Michigan Legislature has appropriated funds to the Attorney General’s office for the purpose of investigating and prosecuting cases that arise from previously untested sexual assault kits. In fiscal year 2021, the legislature again appropriated money to the Attorney General’s Office to provide funding to projects in Kalamazoo, Calhoun, Ingham, Jackson, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties through this initiative.  

Most recently, in a Kalamazoo County SAKI case, Brad Allen Risner pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal sexual conduct as a second habitual offender. The admission is related to a 2013 assault and avoids a trial scheduled for later this month. Six women, in addition to the victim, were prepared to testify at trial about being sexually assaulted by Risner between 2005 and 2015.

Risner will be sentenced by Judge Pamela L. Lightvoet on Sept. 7 at 1:30 p.m. He faces additional sexual assault charges in Jackson and Calhoun counties, which are also SAKI prosecutions.



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