• Rod Kackley

Kalamazoo's Suitcase Killer: Sentenced!


Donnovan Lewis pled guilty to the escape charge in January 2019. In February, he received a seventeen-month-to-four-year jail sentence.

So, he'll do some time behind bars. At the time of this writing, Donnovan was still awaiting trial for murdering Aniya Mack, stuffing her body into a suitcase and first throwing it into a creek, then when it floated, burying the case in the muddy banks of the waterway.

Some time. But will it be enough time for Aniya's mother and friends? Will they be able to find closure and move on with their lives?

Donnovan apologized on Facebook, but that means nothing to one of Aniya's oldest friends, LaQuena Watson. Remembering what Aniya had said about what she wanted her friends to wear at her funeral, LaQuenda tells a WOOD-TV reporter, Barton Deiters, that she doesn't want to see anyone hatred, anger, or even grief. But she does want Donnovan to face justice for what she believed he did to her friend.

“Trust me, I been crying, but that ain’t what she want," Watson says. "She want us to be as happy as possible and give her the best homegoing we can.”

During a "celebration of life" memorial for Aniya, Ashley Mack said she'd made "peace" with her sister's death.

"I know my sister. I know she would want me to turn it up partying for her. We are going to party all weekend."

But Ashley also says, "It'll never be the same, and there'll never be another 'Niya."

The next day, Aniya's funeral at Christ Temple Apostolic Faith Church in Muskegon Heights includes a closed casket. Because of that, Loretta wasn't able to see her daughter's body, and as a result, she says there was no closure for her.

“Every day I'm learning something different about what happened (and) the manner that she died and how tragically that it happened," Loretta tells WOOD-TV.

Loretta adds that she forgives Donnovan. But she can't understand why he felt he had to murder her daughter "because she would give you the shirt off your back."

Justice, as far as Michigan law is concerned, will be life in prison with no chance of parole, if Donnovan is convicted. At this time, he has not faced trial on the murder charge, and of course, everyone is innocent until proven guilty.--Rod

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