Tanaya Lewis

Tanaya Lewis is arraigned via video (Photo: Jon Hewett/WWJ)

Witnesses: Teen Smiled, Laughed While Chasing Victim In Warren High School Fatal Stabbing

Tanaya Lewis is charged with first degree murder

September 14, 2018 - 2:08 pm
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DETROIT (WWJ) - A 17-year-old girl has has been charged as an adult with first degree murder in the slaying of another teen at Fitzgerald High School in Warren.

Tanaya L. Lewis was ordered held without bond at an arraignment in 37th District Court on Friday.

Danyna Gibson
Danyna Gibson (Handout)
In court, a Warren Police Det. Donald Seidel testified that witnesses said Lewis, armed with a straight-edge kitchen knife she'd brought from home, stabbed 16-year-old Danyna Gibson twice in the upper chest, one striking her heart. 

Witnesses told investigators Lewis was smiling and laughing while chasing the victim around a classroom, Seidel said, then stabbing her once more in the back as she tried to flee.

Seidel said that's when Gibson fell to the floor. 

"The defendant then stabbed, with a hammer fist punch, stabbed to the back, which punctured her lung," the detective said. 

"The defendant was pushed from the classroom by the teacher. The defendant then tried to fet around the teacher to get back into the classroom yelling, 'I'm going to kill her,'" Seidel said. "The victim had no pulse and was pronounced dead at 09:24 hours at St. John Oakland Hospital."

According to Warren Police Commissioner William Dwyer, the girls were friends and straight-A students; and the stabbing, Wednesday morning, stemmed from a love triangle involving a male student. 

Lewis spoke little in court, but did answer "yes" in a soft voice when asked by Judge Suzanne Faunce if she understands the charge against her. 

((Mayor: Warren High School Fatal Stabbing Was Preannounced On Social Media))

Outside the courtroom, Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith was questioned: Why first degree?

"Premeditation is abundant in this case; as simple as the fact that she brought a knife to school," Smith told WWJ's Jon Hewett and other reporters. "That in and of itself is premeditation, but there is a previous dispute, there was things said previous to this...the fact that the defendant chased the victim throughout the class while this was going on."

"We'll have plenty of opportunity," Smith added, "but we don't need anything beyond that she brought a knife to school for this exact purpose."

Smith said the murder was the first ever inside a school in the county. 

Lewis, who was taken to the Macomb County Jail  following the arraignment, will be back in court for a preliminary exam on September 27.

She faces possible life in prison without parole if convicted as charged.

Note: This story has been edited to correct the spelling of the defendant's first name.