Kzoo jail escapee pleads guilty to girlfriend’s murder

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek
Donnovan Lewis

Donnovan Lewis in court for a motion hearing on July 2, 2019.

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A man who told police he murdered his girlfriend over her growing relationship with a prominent Kalamazoo pastor is going to prison.

Court documents filed Friday show Donnovan Lewis has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the June 2018 death of his 24-year-old girlfriend, Aniya Mack.

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An undated courtesy photo of Aniya Mack.

According to a police report obtained by News 8, Lewis told investigators he killed the Western Michigan University student after arguing with her about her relationship with Rev. Strick Strickland, who is also the president of the Kalamazoo chapter of the NAACP.

Police said Lewis admitted to hitting Mack, knocking her unconscious before he cut her throat. Detectives say Lewis then put Mack’s body in a suitcase which he eventually dumped in Comstock Creek. He led authorities to her body four days later.

Mack sang in the choir at Second Baptist Church, where Strickland preaches.

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An undated courtesy photo of Donnovan Lewis with Aniya Mack.

The police report said Lewis told police he knew Strickland was letting Mack borrow his car. He later grew suspicious when Strickland started stopping by the apartment and picking up Mack more often.

He went on to say Mack told him that Strickland had threatened her because she said she was going to tell people about their relationship.

Lewis didn’t provide any details about the alleged threat, and Strickland denied being in a romantic relationship with Mack.

The police report shows that Strickland eventually contacted police about the release of a white Chevrolet Malibu that was claimed as evidence in the investigation of Mack’s death. Strickland said the car belonged to his wife.

As part of Lewis’ plea, prosecutors agreed to ask for a 25-year minimum sentence. However, Lewis’ murder sentence won’t start until he completes a 17 month to 4 year sentence for escaping the Kalamazoo County Jail.

Lewis is expected back in court for sentencing on Oct. 28.

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