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Washtenaw SAKI Unit Secures Jury Conviction of Ypsilanti Man in Cold Case Sexual Assault
November 01, 2023
LANSING – Lewis Smith, 39, of Ypsilanti, was convicted by a jury on one count each of First and Third degree Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC) in the Washtenaw County Trial Court for the 22nd judicial circuit last Friday, announced Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. The 2015 assault was investigated by the Washtenaw County Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI), established to investigate cold-case sexual assaults. Smith was charged as a fourth-offense habitual offender.
While the victim was physically helpless under the influence of heroin, facts known to Smith, he committed forcible penetration without consent. Smith carried the victim from his automobile where she had been self-administering the narcotic to the bedroom of his nearby home. She awoke during the rape, with Smith atop her and restraining her across her neck.
The victim suffered injuries to her cervix, thighs, and neck, and endured years of mental anguish.
“This conviction, secured by the talented investigators and prosecutors of the Washtenaw SAKI unit, demonstrates sexual predators can and will be held accountable regardless of the circumstance and struggles of our victims,” said Nessel. “Our SAKI teams across the state continue to prove this to survivors.”
Smith is currently incarcerated at the Washtenaw County Jail. He will be sentenced by Judge Arianne Slay on December 4th in the 22nd Circuit Court in Washtenaw County.
“Our community is safer today thanks to the phenomenal efforts of the SAKI team,” said Washtenaw County Prosecuting Attorney Eli Savit. “I’m grateful for the incredible work of SAKI team members in securing this cold-case conviction—and for their steadfast work on behalf of sexual assault survivors more broadly. This conviction demonstrates that even when justice is delayed, it will not be denied.”
The Washtenaw SAKI project is funded by the Michigan Legislature and involves a partnership between the Attorney General’s office, the Michigan State Police, the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office, and SafeHouse Center, a non-profit organization that provides support and advocacy for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence and their children in Washtenaw County. The SAKI project uses the nationally recognized best practice “team approach” to the re-investigation and prosecution of cold-case sexual assaults. The team consists of a special assistant attorney general, investigators employed by the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office, a victim advocate employed by SafeHouse Center, and local law enforcement.