Local News

Judge cuts prison time in UNC football players' assault

Posted November 21, 2008

— An Orange County judge on Friday lopped several years off the prison sentence he had handed down this week against a Durham man who was convicted of tying up and robbing three University of North Carolina football players last year.

Michael Troy Lewis, 33, was convicted Tuesday of two counts each of felony conspiracy and first-degree kidnapping and one count each of common law robbery and assault on a government official. He was acquitted of a second count of assault on a government official.

The charges stemmed from a Dec. 16, 2007, incident in which a UNC player invited Lewis and two women to a Chapel Hill apartment after the player had been drinking for the night. At the apartment, the player and two teammates were tied up with belts, ties and stereo speaker wires while Lewis robbed the apartment.

One of the players said a woman fondled him while he was tied up and that Lewis held a knife to his throat when he resisted.

After a jury found Lewis guilty, Superior Court Judge Carl Fox sentenced him to 371 months in prison, which is almost 31 years behind bars.

After the sentencing, Fox said Friday, he spoke with the father of one of the football players. The man, who happens to be a defense attorney, said he thought the sentence was excessive, noting that he had hoped Lewis would get between 13 and 16 years in prison.

Fox said he thought about the matter for a couple of days and decided to consolidate some of the charges against Lewis instead of stacking sentences on top of each other.

"Sometimes, when you’re sentencing someone in months, you don’t really realize how many years (that translates to)," he said Friday. "It was not my intention to have Mr Lewis in prison until he’s 60 or 65 years old. There’s a point when basically we’re punishing the taxpayers as much as Mr. Lewis (by keeping him in prison)."

Lewis will now serve consecutive 93- to 129-month sentences on the conspiracy and kidnapping charges, as well as 13 to 16 months for robbery and 150 days for assault. He also will receive credit for the 338 days spent in jail awaiting trial.

The change cuts his sentence from almost 31 years to between 17 and 23¼ years.

Lewis also will have to reimburse the state for nearly $7,000 in legal fees upon his release, and Fox recommended that he participate in available educational programs in prison and that he take part in a work-release program when eligible.

"Truthfully, it’s the first time I’ve ever resentenced somebody in almost four years on the bench," Fox said.

Lewis thanked Fox for reconsidering the sentence.

"When I left here (Tuesday), I kept asking God, 'Why?'” he said. “It made me turn to God more than what I had been turning. Thank you for resentencing me and giving me another life as far as spiritually.”

Monique Jenice Taylor, 29, is charged with one count each of criminal conspiracy, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree sexual offense and resisting a public officer in the case. She will be tried separately.

Tnikia Monta Washington, 30, is charged with resisting a public officer in the case.


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  • Its me again Nov 21, 2008

    "I'm still trying to figure out how one guy managed to tie up 3 football players"
    Good point!

  • wllmbraskey Nov 21, 2008

    man i didn't realize that judges were smoking crack now too, very sad.

  • Crayzee1 Nov 21, 2008

    We have the HIGHEST per capita amount of people in prison in the world. I think we PUT to many peeps in jail. NON violent criminals shou;ldn't be be in prison for life. PRISON should be for child molesters, rapists, murders, attempting murders, wif/husband beaters etc. NOT for non violent criminals. Its stupid and its waste taxpayers dollars.

  • Crayzee1 Nov 21, 2008

    Listen people not every felon is a violent criminal deserving of life in prison. I BET 1,000,000 dollars you've commited a felony before. JUST ABVOUT EVery CRIME CAN be a felony. I only means you can serve more then a year in jail for your crime. A year sentence is a joke. Write a bad check and KNOW its bad, felony. DO IT 3 times, serve life behind bars? MURDER 1 person out in eight? doesnt really seem to mke sense when you THINK about it.

  • Common Sense Man Nov 21, 2008

    "Sooo. I commit 3 felonies over the cousre of a life time and I serve the rest of my life in prison?"

    Why would you take up for habitual felons? Don't like the sentence stop committing felonies.

  • whatelseisnew Nov 21, 2008

    Perhaps we can teach this Judge how to divide by 12. So thanks Judge, now this mook will be young enough to do some more crimes when he gets out. Probably next time he will not leave any witnesses alive.

  • kbo0801 Nov 21, 2008

    This sentence is too much. The mother in Johnston county that killed her son with her husband only got some months and this man did not even kill anyone. Granted he should still be in prison but, I do not know about 31 years. The women should be locked up too, they look more manly than he does.

  • wrx44 Nov 21, 2008

    This sentence is still too harsh...I am all for throwing away the key on bad guys....but this was a pretty low level deal...

    You could get drunk and kill someone and get a lesser sentence. Anything more than 10 years on this doesn't seem to make sense.

  • johnny2times Nov 21, 2008

    Well I hope that if I ever got into to trouble, I could drop a lawyers name and turn to the lord AFTER everything is done to get a reduced sentence. This guy is a thug and a moron. He'll be back on the street soon enough getting into more trouble...so we might as well say our prayers that he will be in prison for a long time. I guess the judge owed this scum bag lawyer a "favor" or maybe he wanted to secure a vote for the future.

  • WRALblows Nov 21, 2008

    "DWI which isn't covered by Structured Sentencing"

    Wrong. DWI is covered under structured sentencing per NC General Statue 20-179. Sentencing is based upon five levels determined by grossly aggravating, aggravating or mitigating factors. The longest possible incarceration under Level 1 sentencing is a term of not more than 24 months. Unless it's the third or greater DWI in 10 years. Then it's a felony.