Family friend starts online petition against re-sentencing in teen murder case

Family friend starts online petition against re-sentencing in teen murder case

Family friends of Carly Lewis, the Traverse City teen murdered in 2011, have started a petition to halt any chance of Carly's murderer being re-sentenced again.

Robert Schwander has already been sentenced three different times for the murder of the 16-year-old, and now he's asking for a fourth go at it.

"It's ridiculous," said Todd Lewis, Carly's father. "He should just do his time."

Schwander was most recently sentenced to 40-70 years back in 2014 during his third appeal. It was the same time as his original sentence.

He and his attorneys appealed the sentence, saying the judge shouldn't have gone outside of the guidelines.

In 2015, the Court of Appeals accepted their argument and called for Schwander to be re-sentenced, this time by a different judge outside of Grand Traverse County.

Prosecuting Attorney Bob Cooney has been fighting back, arguing that Schwander's original sentence, which was the same as his third, are valid.

In November, the Michigan Supreme Court accepted his appeal, and returned the case to the Court of Appeals for a new review.

Last weekend, a family friend of the Lewis' started an online petition asking the community to also join the fight against Schwander being re-sentenced.

It's already gained support from more than 1,700 people.

"Nobody wants him here in Traverse City, nobody wants him as a neighbor, nobody wants him living in their neighborhood," Lewis said.

"I certainly understand the family's concerns. It would take a toll on anyone having a case sent back for sentencing a fourth time," Cooney said.

But Cooney says the courts have to follow the legal process, and while victim statements are always taken into account during sentencing, this is different.

He says the evidence being considered by the Court of Appeals is what already happened at sentencing.

"It (the petition) wasn't part of the record that they are reviewing," Cooney said.

Those who created it at least hope the family sees how many people are backing them.

"There's not a day that goes by I don't think of Carly," Lewis said. "I feed her dog, I walk her dog every day. My house is full of her pictures and everything."

"We don't want him back. We just want him to go away."

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