Tanaya Lewis, 19, pleaded no contest last month to first-degree premeditated murder in the September 2018 death of her 16-year-old classmate, Danyna Gibson, whom investigators said was stabbed with a steak knife inside a classroom at Fitzgerald High School in Warren, the Detroit Free Press reports.
“If could take it back, I would,” Lewis said during Wednesday’s hearing. “I accept the punishment … and I know no amount of apologies will take it back … and I’m so, so sorry. I just hope one day, you’ll be [able to] forgive me.”
Lewis, who was then 17, said she still has nightmares about attacking Gibson – a straight-A student — with a kitchen knife that she brought to school and stabbed her several times in front of other students and a teacher, the newspaper reports.
Lewis, who will be eligible for parole after 25 years due to credit for time served, could have received a maximum sentence of 40 to 60 years if a plea deal hadn’t been reached between her attorney and a judge. If she had been convicted as an adult, she would have received life without parole, the Macomb Daily reports.
Danyna’s aunt, Christina Ford, read a statement via video on behalf of the teen’s mother, who said there’s “really no words” to explain the pain caused by losing a child, especially in such a violent way.
“I mourn the loss of my baby every day,” the statement read. “Times does not heal. It is more of a punishment because the more time that passes the more I realize I will never see my baby again.”
Gibson’s family is unable to make sense of or forgive Lewis for the slaying, Ford said.
“You took a life that was so beautiful,” her statement on behalf of Gibson’s family continued. “All I ask is that the Lord have mercy on your soul.”
Danyna wanted to become a computer engineer and was already learning how to build robots, her father said.
“I feel like I was robbed by the system,” Preston Gibson said. “I feel like I was robbed by her mother and I feel like I was robbed by a teenager. Although my baby’s not here, I’m still paying child support, my baby’s dead and I don’t get no justice for it. This is how I feel. Everybody who played a part in her death … f— you all.”